As a Senate committee plans an initial vote on Rep. Hilda Solis's confirmation as Labor Secretary today, Solis is promising to recuse herself from dealing with matters related to American Rights At Work, a labor pressure group on whose board she sat. ARW supports the Employee Free Choice Act, or "card check." But a White House official says that "[t]he Employee Free Choice Act is not a particular matter involving specific parties" -- that is, ARW is not a direct party to the legislation -- and so Solis won't recuse herself from EFCA-related duties.
The right is in a lather because they contend Solis violated House ethics rules by serving as a de-facto lobbyist. The House ethics manual allows a member to serve without compensation on the board of a non-profit even if it does engage in lobbying. The White House insists that Solis's role did not include the supervision of lobbying activities and did not conflict with her obligations as a member. That said, Solis didn't disclose her uncompensated service with ARW for three years, rectifying this recently as soon as the oversight was disclosed. The key question: does the treasurer of ARW supervise lobbying activities? ARW says no -- its bylaws make clear that the executive director doles out the funds.