House Republicans Subpoena Legal Aid Union President Over Gaza Resolution Controversy

Allegations have surfaced suggesting potential retaliation against union members who dissented.
House Republicans Subpoena Legal Aid Union President Over Gaza Resolution Controversy
Rep. Virginia Foxx speaks during a hearing in Washington, on June 8, 2022. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)
Savannah Hulsey Pointer

House Republicans issued a subpoena on May 14 for the president of an association of legal aid attorneys following concerns that the group had retaliated against members who did not support a resolution on a ceasefire in Gaza.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) issued the subpoena for Lisa Ohta, president of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325, compelling her to testify in a deposition on May 29. The subpoena follows the group’s alleged continued obstruction of the committee’s investigation into the union’s controversial resolution on Gaza.

The investigation focuses on the union’s adoption of the “Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, an End to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and Support for Workers’ Political Speech.”

The resolution has caused significant controversy within the union, with some members resorting to litigation.

Allegations have surfaced suggesting potential retaliation against union members who dissented, prompting concerns about violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).

The internal conflict and allegations of retaliation have drawn the attention of the committee, which is tasked with ensuring compliance with the LMRDA. The act guarantees certain rights to union members, including protection from retaliation and the right to participate in union activities without fear of retribution.

In a cover letter accompanying the subpoena, Ms. Foxx wrote, “The Committee on Education and the Workforce is continuing its investigation of alleged infringements on the rights of union members by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, or UAW Local 2325, through its consideration of a resolution on Gaza. Despite the Committee’s attempts to receive responsive information through voluntary and compulsory means, the UAW chapter has impeded this investigation. Accordingly, the Committee now compels your attendance for a deposition.”

Ms. Foxx also emphasized the committee’s ongoing efforts to obtain information about the UAW chapter’s alleged interference with its members’ rights under the LMRDA, specifically related to the resolution’s consideration and adoption. “Following Local 2325’s lack of cooperation and despite the Committee’s attempts to provide reasonable accommodations, the Committee invoked compulsory process to continue its investigation. Local 2325 has continued to impede this investigation deliberately.”

The deposition on May 29 is expected to provide critical insights into the union’s handling of the resolution and the alleged violations of member rights. It may also shed light on the internal dynamics of the UAW chapter and the broader implications of the resolution on Gaza.

The committee’s investigation began on January 29, when it requested information on the union’s vote and adoption of the resolution, with a response deadline of February 12. The group’s attorney requested additional time to respond on February 8, which the committee granted, extending the deadline to February 19. On February 19, the group’s attorney informed the committee that the union would not cooperate “at this time.”

The committee offered an additional two days for the UAW chapter to reconsider and produce materials by February 26.

On March 11, Ms. Foxx issued a subpoena requiring Local 2325 to produce documents and communications related to the resolution by March 25. Internal group chat messages from the UAW chapter were leaked and published by The Free Press on March 13, showing union members using derogatory language against their Jewish colleagues who supported Israel following the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

On April 8, Ms. Foxx sent a letter to President Ohta addressing the union’s failure to fully comply with the subpoena. The letter rejected Local 2325’s objections and warned of further enforcement actions if the remaining subpoenaed documents were not produced.

The UAW did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’s Request for comment.

Savannah Pointer is a politics reporter for The Epoch Times. She can be reached at [email protected]