Biden’s Labor secretary pick faces renewed scrutiny over involvement in federal probe

President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) to lead the Department of Labor is being called into question.

A new report from Fox News reveals that Biden’s pick for Labor secretary has a scandalous past — one that involved him being “ensnared in a federal probe.”

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Walsh’s political career goes back to 1997, when the Democrat started out as a Massachusetts state lawmaker. He served in the state legislature until 2013 before going on to become Boston’s mayor.

Throughout the course of his political career, Walsh has had an intimate relationship with local labor unions, and has received more than $500,000 in donations from such groups, the Free Beacon reports. At one point, Walsh became the head of Boston Building Trades, and it was in this capacity that he reportedly became involved in a federal investigation, though he wasn’t its original subject.

“Illegal tactics”

In 2012, when Walsh was both a state lawmaker and a union head, he was caught on tape by federal agents using “illegal tactics to ‘strong-arm’ local developers,” Fox News reported.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Collin Anderson said Tuesday that Walsh threatened a development company called AvalonBay with “permitting problems” on an upcoming project if it did not hire union laborers for the job. Subsequently, Michael Rauseo, another developer, came forward to accuse Walsh of making a similar threat to him.

Walsh was neither indicted nor punished for these incidents, Fox notes, and he has since maintained that he has done nothing wrong.

More problems for Walsh

But in August of 2019, two members of his administration in Boston, Timothy Sullivan and Kenneth Brissette, were convicted of extortion-related conspiracy for the same sort of the thing that Walsh was accused of: using threats to get a company to hire union laborers.

According to Anderson, the conviction was overturned in 2020, with the judge saying neither Sullivan nor Brissette personally benefitted from their conduct. But the problems for the mayor don’t end there.

In 2019, a member of Walsh’s staff named John Lynch pleaded guilty to accepting a $50,000 bribe as a development and planning agency employee, Anderson reported. Walsh subsequently tried to distance himself from the staffer, saying, “You can’t monitor every single person’s actions.”

Notably, a number of labor unions endorsed Walsh to be Biden’s Labor secretary, and the two Democrats reportedly go back decades. Biden even spoke at Walsh’s mayoral inauguration in 2017, Anderson noted, and Walsh has defended Biden against sexual assault accusations.

With that, it’s probably safe to say Biden won’t be reconsidering his pick to head the Labor Department — no matter how shady his past.

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