Watchdog asks court to unseal Labor nominee’s divorce records

Watchdog asks court to unseal Labor nominee’s divorce records

A government watchdog group has asked a federal court to unseal the divorce records of Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder.

The Campaign for Accountability (CfA) said information regarding the fast-food CEO’s background and prior acts — including his marriage and divorce proceedings — are of high interest to the Senate committee that will be considering the nomination.

The group charged that court filings and recent reports indicate the records include allegations of domestic violence.

Politico reported that Puzder’s ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, appeared in disguise on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in the 1980s to speak out as a domestic violence victim. A spokesman for the couple, George Thompson, confirmed the appearance. 

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Fierstein, who was known as Lisa Henning at the time, reportedly claimed Puzder assaulted and battered her. She recently retracted those accusations, saying she made them up to get a bigger divorce settlement.

Puzder has denied the abuse.

But the CfA says the public deserves to see for themselves.

“President Trump has nominated Mr. Puzder to head the Department of Labor, where he would oversee efforts to combat workplace harassment and violence,” Executive Director Daniel Stevens said in a statement.

“Before the United States Senate votes on whether Mr. Puzder is qualified to lead an agency charged with protecting the safety of American workers – including millions of women – the public is entitled to full information about Mr. Puzder’s record.”

In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for Puzder slammed CfA's for trying to dig up 30-year-old records.

"The request to unseal the Puzder’s 30 year old divorce records is a shameless attempt to smear an individual who has shown nothing but dedication to creating jobs, growing the economy and providing opportunities for workers to achieve the American dream," the spokesperson said. 

Puzder’s confirmation hearing, last scheduled for Feb. 7, was delayed this week for the fourth time.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said it is still waiting for his paperwork from the Office of Government Ethics.

“The committee will not officially notice a confirmation hearing with Mr. Puzder until the committee has received his paperwork from the Office of Government Ethics," an aide for Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference House conservatives, Ryan inch closer toward spending deal MORE (R-Tenn.) said.

Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of burger chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. 

—Updated at 2:30 p.m.