Washington D.C. – Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) today sent a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request to the U.S. Department of Labor investigating whether recent outreach by Secretary Tom Perez to voting members of the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) regarding his political future could be in violation of the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act explicitly prohibits federal employees from using their official authority for the purpose of affecting the results of an election.

Secretary Perez reportedly emailed DNC party chairs Wednesday morning and asked them to join him on a conference call this afternoon. During that call Sec. Perez announced his candidacy for DNC Chairman. Such outreach raises the possibility that Perez may be attempting to advance his political campaign while serving in his current government role.

Following the conference call, CoA Institute requested all communications surrounding this outreach to better understand whether Sec. Perez has used taxpayer resources, such as government issued computers, office space, mobile devices, staff, or email systems to promote his campaign.

CoA Institute Assistant Vice President Henry Kerner: “The law is clear: public officials paid by taxpayers cannot use their position to engage in political activities. The Obama administration’s unprecedented history of Hatch Act violations threatens to undermine this important protection. Americans have a right to know if Sec. Perez used taxpayer-funded resources to further his own political campaign.”

There have been three previous high-profile Hatch Act violations during the Obama administration. Just a few months ago in July of this year, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro was found to have violated the Hatch Act when he openly endorsed Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president during a Yahoo News interview. Before that, in 2012, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was also found to have violated the Hatch Act when she delivered the keynote speech at a gala calling on attendees to reelect President Obama. And prior to that, Secretary Perez’s predecessor at the Labor Department, Hilda Solis, resigned after word came out that she had solicited campaign contributions from a subordinate employee.

These were historic violations, as no Cabinet secretary in any prior administration had been found in violation of the Hatch Act since its enactment under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Yet, neither Ms. Sebelius nor Mr. Castro suffered any consequences for these violations.

The full FOIA can be found here