Issa (R-Vista), whose
Solis did not respond to requests for comment on the release of the recording. She previously declined to comment in detail about the FBI inquiry, but has said in statements that she did not believe she did anything wrong.
Issa said the recording was a voicemail message Solis left on the phone of a subordinate at the Labor Department when she was Obama's labor secretary. The subordinate was not identified.
The message was left on the employee's government-issued BlackBerry, according to a letter sent to Solis last year by the Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency that investigates allegations of administrative violations of fundraising rules by federal officials.
In the recording, from March 2012, the speaker identifies herself as Hilda Solis and says, "Just calling you off-the-record here. Wanted to ask you if you could, um, help us get folks organized to come to a fundraiser that we're doing for Organizing for America for Obama campaign on Friday at La Fonda at 6 p.m."
She goes on to say, "There are a lot of folks that we know that are coming, but wanted to ask you if you might help contribute or get other folks to help out."
Solis appeared as a speaker at the La Fonda event. Two sources familiar with the probe who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter said Wednesday that investigators also are examining allegations that Solis asked at least two other subordinates to help organize and stage the fundraiser.
Cabinet members are prohibited from raising money and engaging in certain other types of campaign activities.
Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who advised incoming Cabinet members about ethics rules during the
The Times previously reported that the Office of Special Counsel initially looked into Solis' involvement in the Obama event.
The counsel's office closed its investigation when Solis stepped down from the Cabinet in January 2013. But the agency referred the matter to the Department of Justice for possible criminal investigation.
The FBI interviewed Solis and at least one other person in connection with the probe, and a grand jury took testimony last June, The Times has reported.
Soon after leaving Washington, Solis announced her bid for the supervisorial seat representing eastern Los Angeles County that was being vacated by
At a press briefing Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest declined to comment on the recording released by Issa, saying it "relates to an ongoing law enforcement investigation." Earnest noted that the existence of the investigation had been reported in January.
"We weren't in a position to comment on that law enforcement investigation at that point, and I'm not in a position to comment on it today," he said.
Earnest said members of the administration are directed to follow the Hatch Act.
"The clear guidance that every member of this administration has received is to follow the guidelines, both the spirit and letter," he said.
The release of the recording came in the midst of a standoff between Issa—who has aggressively issued subpoenas during his tenure as chair of the oversight committee—and the White House. Issa had subpoenaed the director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, David Simas, to appear at Wednesday's hearing to talk about the Hatch Act.
The White House did not comply, saying Simas was immune from such a summons. Rep.
During the hearing, Issa said the Solis recording is evidence that more oversight of the White House political office is needed.