Labor Secretary Hilda Solis rewarded six former staffers from her congressional office with political appointments and huge raises upon taking over at the Department of Labor. The appointees had significant pay increases averaging 50 percent upon changing jobs; one employee’s salary nearly doubled.
Solis, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California, began hiring the employees shortly after she was confirmed by the Senate in February 2009. Political appointments are non-competitive government jobs that differ from career positions, which often involve a long hiring process.
The information was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Americans for Limited Government. The pay raises stand in stark contrast to the Bush administration, which had a rule that employees shouldn’t make more than a 20 percent increase from their previous salary unless there were extraordinary circumstances. Only one Solis staffer made less than a 20 percent raise upon taking the political appointment.
In the case of one Department of Labor appointee formerly employed by Solis’ congressional office, the salary nearly doubled from $44,500 to $86,927. One appointee left Congress making $82,000 and is now earning $145,000 at the department. The six appointees also enjoyed sizable raises over the course of the year they worked at the department. A complete list is below.