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In 2009, Obama chose him as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. He began serving in October. Prior to his appointment, he was Secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
From 2002 - 2006, he also served on the Montgomery County Council. He was the first Latino to do so.
From 2001 - 2007, he taught law at the University of Maryland. He's currently a part-time George Washington School of Public Health faculty member.
Senator Charles Grassley (R. IA) criticizes his nomination. So do other lawmakers. At issue is racial discrimination. Perez was involved in getting St. Paul, MN to drop a Supreme Court appeal.
Fair lending advocates said doing so harmed a central enforcement tenet in housing discrimination cases.
The Justice Department declined to join two whistleblower lawsuits. They were filed against St. Paul. It was done in exchange for dropping the appeal.
Justice Department officials claimed Perez's involvement was appropriate. On March 7, Grassley said:
"If Mr. Perez is nominated, he should face a lot of tough questions about this quid pro quo deal he appears to have put together."
"I shudder to think how whistleblowers will be treated in the Labor Department if this quid pro quo with St. Paul is any indication of Mr. Perez's approach to this important area of law."
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