Senate Committee Should Question Trump Labor Nominee Andy Puzder About Russian Ties

In advance of tomorrow’s hearing in the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to consider the confirmation of Trump Labor nominee Andy Puzder, Allied Progress released the following open letter encouraging committee members to question Puzder about his Russian ties.


Open Letter Encouraging U.S. Senate HELP Committee to 
Question Trump Labor Nominee Andy Puzder About Russian Ties

February 15, 2017

The Honorable Lamar Alexander, Chairman
The Honorable Patty Murray, Ranking Member
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
United States Senate

Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray:

I write to you today with an urgent appeal: please use tomorrow’s confirmation hearing with President Trump’s Labor nominee Andrew Puzder to ask about his ties to Russia, including, but not limited to investments, business partners, and government officials he may have had contact with while serving on the Trump campaign.

In light of news from the last 24 hours regarding the Trump campaign’s regular contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign, we hope that the committee will use the hearing as an opportunity to shed light on its alleged contact with members of the Russian intelligence services.

Mr. Puzder is in a unique position to discuss the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, given his senior roles with the Trump campaign and his extensive business history in Russia.

On the Trump campaign, Puzder served as a Senior Policy Advisor, State Victory Finance Chair for California, and as a member of the RNC Platform Committee.

We know that under Puzder’s leadership, CKE Restaurants, Inc. opened numerous establishments in Russia. When it eventually closed 31 restaurants, Carl’s Jr. was accused of skirting Russia’s notoriously lax labor laws, by avoiding paying severance.

But what we still don’t know is who his Russian business connections were/are, and if they consist of government officials, oligarchs, or even intelligence agents. We also do not know what the final outcome was following his company’s labor violations. Were fines resolved or left unpaid?

As President Trump’s former Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort told the New York Times yesterday, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”

Mr. Manafort is right. That’s why Mr. Puzder should disclose any and all of his contacts with Russia and allow the U.S. intelligence community and Senate to decide what is relevant.

Sincerely,

Karl Frisch
Executive Director
Allied Progress

CC: The Honorable Tammy Baldwin, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Michael F. Bennet, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Richard Burr, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Robert P. Casey, Jr., Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Bill Cassidy, M.D., Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Susan Collins, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Michael B. Enzi, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Al Franken, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Maggie Hassan, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Orrin Hatch, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Johnny Isakson, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Tim Kaine, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Christopher Murphy, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Rand Paul, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Pat Roberts, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Bernie Sanders, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Tim Scott, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Elizabeth Warren, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
The Honorable Todd Young, Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

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