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Who is Thomas Perez? Awful Apparatchik, Nominee for Secretary of Labor

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Thomas Perez, Department of Labor Secretary Nominee

“Thomas Perez has both a troubling record of mismanagement and a radical leftist agenda that he is bent on imposing without regard for the law. His nomination should be rejected.”
-Bill Wilson, President,
Americans for Limited Government

On March 19, 2013 President Obama nominated Thomas Perez to become the next Secretary of the Department of Labor.

Much has been written about Perez’s disturbing record at the federal level; this report covers his local and state government record in Maryland.

In 2002, Thomas Perez won a seat on the Montgomery County Council. In 2003, he supported an effort to unionize a local cable provider. Despite being paid over $72,000 per year, analysis of county records shows that he missed over 29% of recorded county council votes in 2006. Fn.1.

When Perez ran for attorney general, unions were, by far, his biggest contributors; and ACORN endorsed him. His campaign ended when the state’s highest court ruled that he did not meet the constitutional requirements to be attorney general. Fn.2.

In 2007, Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed him Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. The Maryland Office of Legislative Audits found a number of problems at the department during Perez’s tenure. Time and again, these problems involved inadequate controls of cash and mismanagement of accounts receivable. In at least two cases, state auditors found the same problems they had previously pointed out to Perez.

In a 2008 report delivered to Perez, auditors found problems at five boards and commissions overseen by his department:

Our audit disclosed that DOPL [the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing] needs to improve its accountability and control over collections received by five boards and commissions. DOPL should also establish additional Nominee to be Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor controls over the Home Improvement and Real Estate Guaranty Funds…. Specifically, accounts receivable and/or cash balance records were not maintained for these Funds. In addition, documentation supporting the propriety of disbursements from the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund was frequently missing from DOPL records. Fn.3.

Thomas Perez acknowledged the problems, but he failed to correct them. In a 2010 report that covered Perez’s time at the department, state auditors found the same division needed “to improve its accountability and control over collections received by six boards and commissions.” Once again, auditors called for establishing “additional controls” at the Home Improvement and Real Estate Guaranty Funds and noted that “accounts receivable and cash balance records for these Funds were either not established or not properly maintained.” Fn.4.

A 2007 audit found that the Labor Department’s Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation “had not established adequate internal control over its cash receipts.” Fn.5.

In response to this audit, Thomas Perez wrote that “we take the auditor’s findings with all due seriousness” and that “the Department is particularly eager to ensure that OCFR’s internal systems and processes are sound.” Fn.6.

Despite Perez’s claims, state auditors again found problems at OFCR with internal control of cash receipts in 2010. They also wrote that the office “did not always refer delinquent accounts receivable to the State’s Central Collection Unit, as required.” Fn.7.

An audit of the Labor Department’s Division of Unemployment Insurance found that the division failed to adequately monitor and pursue potentially improper benefit payments as well as employers who might owe taxes. Fn.8.

In addition to accounting problems, Perez’s department failed to perform its regulatory duties properly. In 2008, state auditors found the department did not verify “continuing professional education for renewal licenses” in a timely fashion. Fn.9.

In 2007, auditors noted that mortgage lender examinations “were not being performed within the time frame required by State law.” A 2010 audit revealed that examinations of mortgage lenders were still not being performed on time. Fn.10.

On Perez’s watch, his department failed to inspect boilers and elevators in a timely fashion. Fn.11.

In 2008, state auditors found that lax network security at Perez’s Department allowed unauthorized users to access the confidential information of license applicants. Fn.12.

THOMAS PEREZ’ BACKGROUND

Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice Member, Agency Review Working Group, Obama Transition Project
Secretary, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation
Acting Secretary, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation
Professor, George Washington School of Public Health
Member, Montgomery County Council
Professor, University of Maryland School of Law
Health care consultant
Director, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Special Counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy
Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Law clerk to Judge Zita L. Weinshienk, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

THOMAS PEREZ’ EDUCATION

A.B., Brown University
J.D., Harvard Law School
M.P.P., Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

SOURCES

Fn.1. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-193459.html
http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/council/pdf/bill/2006/5-06.pdf
http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/csltmpl.asp?url=/Content/council/packet/2006.asp
Fn.2. Source: National Institute for Money in Politics
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2006-07-13/news/0607130016_1_montgomery-county-attorney-general-state-attorney
Fn.3. http://www.ola.state.md.us/reports/Fiscal%20Compliance/OPL08.pdf
Fn.4. See Fn.3.
http://www.ola.state.md.us/reports/Fiscal%20Compliance/DOPL10.pdf
Fn.5. http://www.ola.state.md.us/reports/Fiscal%20Compliance/FinReg07.pdf
Fn.6. See Fn.5.
Fn.7. http://www.ola.state.md.us/reports/Fiscal%20Compliance/FinReg10.pdf
Fn.8. http://www.ola.state.md.us/reports/Fiscal%20Compliance/DUI09.pdf
Fn.9. See Fn.3.
Fn.10. See Fn.5 and Fn.7
Fn.11. http://www.ola.state.md.us/reports/Fiscal%20Compliance/LabInd09.pdf
Fn.12. http://www.ola.state.md.us/reports/Fiscal%20Compliance/DLLR-OS08.pdf

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