04.25.2013 0

Solis’ questionable law firm debt

By Rick Manning— Some things just make you say HMMMM????

Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ final Public Financial Report Filing (SF 278) is one of those documents.

Why did Hilda Solis spend between $50,001 and $100,000 to retain the services of one of the most prestigious white collar law firms in D.C. in the year prior to her leaving the Administration?

That’s the question that jumps out from the pages of the rather mundane federal report, which categorizes expenditures by monetary ranges. On page five of Solis’ report, she reveals that she incurred somewhere between $50 and $100 thousand in debt to the Sidley Law Firm in Washington, D.C. in 2012.

The Sidley Law Firm’s website describes their white collar practice as, “recognized for its significant experience in all aspects of corporate criminal defense and enforcement-related litigation – from internal investigations, to representing clients in grand jury investigations, to managing parallel criminal and civil proceedings, to trial, to extraditions and counseling on foreign criminal investigations and to advising on voluntary disclosure and compliance issues…”

The site continues to explain, “Our lawyers have aggressively defended corporations and their executives, public officials and other individuals in cases involving allegations of securities fraud, bribery, perjury and false statements, tax fraud, antitrust violations, healthcare fraud, false claims, FDA violations, immigration fraud and environmental crimes.”

In rolling up between $50 and $100 thousand dollars in debt to the law firm, Solis spent a minimum of 25 percent of her $199,700 gross salary on legal expenses.

While attorney, client relations are privileged, the choice by Secretary Solis to burden herself with a huge legal bill during her last year in the Administration makes one wonder why?

What was it that had her so worried that she needed outside counsel to protect herself from the fallout?

After all, it is reasonable to assume that the huge bill was accumulated due to a complex legal issue that required significant time and energy.

Hopefully, there is an innocent explanation, but in a Washington, D.C. where smoke almost always leads to fire, Solis’ newly incurred debt is a signal that even the most naïve cannot miss, and it is up to Congress to discover where fire is at the Department of Labor.

Rick Manning is the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for Americans for Limited Government.  You can follow Rick on twitter @rmanning957.

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