Department of Labor officials these past several years haven't been shy about conveying their political preferences to their own labor force. An ongoing Capitol Hill probe has found out as much. Late last month the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a report concluding that the Obama-era department has spent at least $725,000 on elevator posters, publicity contests and other forms of advocacy intended to boost employee morale. Most of this motivational agitprop was the doing of first-term Secretary Hilda Solis. Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a longtime critic, noted: "This questionable activity has been going on for some time. As my staff has learned, in 2009 DOL began producing weekly elevator posters for the 23 passenger elevators at DOL's headquarters in Washington, D.C." Tax-funded ideology marches on.
As the Department of Labor's top cop, Paul Tiao would have been uncomfortably close to the unions he would investigate. That's why he didn't get the job. Last Monday on May 9 President Obama withdrew Tiao's name from consideration as DOL Inspector General (IG) rather than subject him to a Senate Judiciary Committee grilling or install him via one-year recess appointment.
If there is one position within the federal bureaucracy more than any other that requires impartiality it is Inspector General (IG). By law, the holder of this office must operate independently of his political beliefs. The nomination this past May of the next head of the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General is putting this principle to the test. The Obama White House believes it has found the right man for the job in Paul Tiao. Yet Tiao, an experienced federal prosecutor, apparently holds the view that one need not be a U.S. citizen to be eligible to vote. Moreover, a little over a decade ago he co-founded a political action committee whose extensive union support might compromise his impartiality. When the Senate Judiciary Committee convenes after summer recess to consider the nomination, members should raise these issues as a matter of protecting public integrity.