Walsh wants Solis answers on poster

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Mark Tapscott

Rep. Joe Walsh, R-IL, got a look at that poster being posted around the Department of Labor showing Secretary Hilda Solis marching arm-in-arm with Rev. Al Sharpton and started asking some possibly uncomfortable questions.

The poster includes this quote from Solis: “Whether we take to the streets or simply do our work with integrity and commitment here at the U.S. Department of Labor, we are all marching toward the same goals: safer workplaces, fair pay, dignity on the job, secure retirement and opportunities to make a better life. I believe in the power of collective action.”

If that sounds familiar, it should as it's standard SEIU/ACORN rhetoric. Walsh thinks the poster and the political ideology it represents has little if anything to do with being Secretary of Labor.

"Some employees that have remained anonymous have described these posters as 'propaganda' and I agree," Walsh wrote in a letter to Solis. "The sign is both contrary to the role of your department and a misuse of taxpayer funds. Your job is not to inject yourself into politics - especially not by promoting your own political stance through a poster paid for by the taxpayer."

Then came the questions:

"I ask you to respond to the scope in which this poster was circulated, including the cost it took to produce such a product. I will also ask you to address whether further posters like this have been produced already and your policy on using taxpayer money to make a political point," Walsh said.

The Examiner has asked a DOL spokesman for a response.

Walsh is a freshman from Illinois who faces a tough re-election battle after Democrats back home redistricted him into one with fewer Republican voters. A recent PPP survey found Walsh trailing a prospective Democratic opponent by seven points.

Matthew Boyle of The Daily Caller first reported the poster yesterday.

UPDATED: Maybe this explains the poster's timing

Solis is a featured speaker next week at Sharpton's National Action Network (NAN) gathering, which some might think qualifies the poster as a piece of tax-paid "solidarity" propaganda.

Here's the NAN announcement:

"Eric Holder and a cadre of heavy-hitting Obama Administration officials will kick off the annual National Action Network’s (NAN) national convention next week in Washington, D.C. Most of the panel discussions will focus on issues that voters, especially African-Americans, will have in mind when they step into ballot box come November.

"The four-day convention, beginning Wednesday, April 11 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is free and open to the public.

"The Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of NAN, has been particularly active this year in the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. The convention’s “Criminal Justice” session, featuring President Barack Obama’s former professor at Harvard Law School Dr. Charles J. Ogletree, will likely focus on Martin and other issues of injustice facing African-Americans. Alfred C. Liggins III, Chief Executive Officer of Radio One, will be featured in the “Media: Race & Politics” session along with Washington Post staff writers Jonathan Capehart and Nia-Malika Henderson, and other leading media professionals. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Radio One is the parent company of NewsOne.]

"U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will lead back-to-back plenary sessions. With African-Americans ranking highest among the unemployed and those experiencing healthcare disparities, both sessions will give attendees the opportunity to hear from Obama’s top advisors. Six current cabinet members in total will participate in the convention.

"While the Rev. Sharpton has enjoyed a close relationship with the President and his administration — Obama having kicked off his re-election campaign at last year’s NAN convention — Sharpton says that this year’s gathering isn’t meant to be a cozy get-together where Obama’s team can address convention attendees unchallenged.

'“Otherwise, we’re just having a soundbite forum,' Sharpton said. 'We determined when we started making the movement three years ago to stop the soundbites where everyone sits on the stage, give their best lines, and nothing happens. Our people need accountability and concrete progress.'"

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Mark Tapscott

Executive Editor
The Washington Examiner