Rep. Issa says recording is evidence of improper fundraising by Solis

Hilda Solis, right, tries to listen to a cellphone call during a campaign rally on April 5 in El Monte.
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) released a recording on Wednesday that his office said supported allegations of improper fundraising activity by Los Angeles County Supervisor-elect Hilda Solis’ when she served as U.S. Secretary of Labor.

Issa, whose House Oversight and Government Reform Committee obtained the audio as part of an ongoing probe of political activities by government employees, played the recording during a hearing in Washington.

Solis could not be immediately reached for comment on the release of the recording. She has previously declined to comment in detail on questions about a related federal inquiry involving allegedly improper fundraising activity, but has said in statements that she does not believe she did anything wrong.

Issa said the recording was a voicemail that Solis left on the phone of a subordinate at the Labor Department when she was President Obama’s Labor secretary.


In the recording, 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.”

The Times previously reported that the Office of Special Counsel investigated allegations that Solis had solicited employees of the Labor Department to contribute to or help organize a Los Angeles fundraiser for the president. Cabinet members are prohibited from engaging in certain campaign activities.

The Office of Special Counsel closed its investigation when Solis stepped down from the Cabinet in January 2013. But the agency had 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. The current status of the FBI investigation is unclear.

Solis resigned her Cabinet post early last year and announced a bid for the Los Angeles County supervisorial seat being vacated by Gloria Molina. Solis handily beat out two competitors in last month’s primary election and will take office in December.

Issa had subpoenaed the director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, David Simas, to appear at Wednesday’s hearing. Issa said the White House did not comply, saying Simas was immune from such summons.

Follow Abby Sewell on Twitter at @sewella for more county news.