Trump’s new replacement Secretary of Labor just had his Russian ties exposed

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President Trump has appointed a new Acting Secretary of Labor, Patrick Pizzella, to replace disgraced former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta. But it turns out that Acting Secretary Pizzella could be the one man in the Labor Department with even more skeletons in his closet than Alex Acosta.

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Pat Pizzella used to be a lobbyist with Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff for a Russian oil company whose million-dollar bribe to former House GOP Majority leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) was exposed when his felony fraud conviction led to multiple Congressmen going to jail.

He also lobbied for sweatshop interests in the Marianas Islands and who intentionally and completely deleted his entire email account upon leaving the Bush Administration, but it’s his track record as a Russian oil lobbyist is most disturbing. The Stern Facts reports:

Both Abramoff and Pizzella registered to lobby in the late ’90s for a Russian oil company, NaftaSib, which was a subsidiary of Gazprom.

The Russian Government sought to buy off support for loans from the IMF by having Abramoff and Pizzella lobby the United States Government for them.

Former House GOP Majority leader Tom “the Hammer” DeLay took in a million dollars through the U.S. Family Network, according to the Washington Post, which was little more than an elaborate bribe.

One of the men in charge of helping launder the money, London-based lawyer David Sarch died suddenly, one month before the money transfer took place according to a 2006 report in the Telegraph.

Patrick Pizzella’s involvement with the Mariana Islands was focused on getting Congress to keep the tiny island’s minimum wage at $ 3.05. The island became a destination for companies seeking poverty-wage jobs but could still slap a “Made in the USA” sticker on their products because it’s a U.S. territory — one of our colonial possessions.

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Naturally, he next became a member of the George W. Bush transition team and was appointed as Assistant Secretary of Labor from 2001 through 2009. When he left, Pizzella covered his tracks.

In 2009, the nonprofit watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint against Pizzella for deleting all of his official emails.

During the Obama era, Pizzella partnered with former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese, who resigned in a cloud of scandal after running the Conservative Action Project with — surprise, surprise — current Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway.

It seems like it would be difficult to find someone with a more sordid past than Alex Acosta, but somehow President Trump managed to find a way.

So much for hiring “the best people.”

Special Thanks to Patrick Simpson at The Stern Facts for reporting this story about Patrick Pizzilla’s past in January 2018.

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

Grant Stern is a columnist for the Washington Press. He's also mortgage broker, writer, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida.

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