Thomas Perez, the former Democratic National Committee chair running for governor in Maryland, has resigned from his role as a partner at law firm Venable after some five weeks on the job.
Perez, who was labor secretary in the Obama administration, left the firm nine days after announcing his bid for governor. He said he stepped down over Venable’s work defending current Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in a lawsuit challenging Hogan’s decision to cut off pandemic unemployment insurance benefits.
“The governor’s position is inconsistent with my values and the future I want to build for Maryland,” Perez said in a statement posted to his campaign website July 2.
Venable “wishes Tom well,” spokesman Brendan McCormick told Bloomberg Law via email.
The pairing of Perez, a workers’ rights and labor union supporter, with Venable, a firm that defends companies accused of a wide range of labor and employment violations, caught the attention of worker advocates.
Venable was already defending Perdue Farms Inc. in a Maryland antitrust lawsuit alleging an industrywide plot to drive down the wages of their largely immigrant workforce when Perez joined the firm in June. The firm has also recently defended CBS and luxury watchmaker Montres Rolex in employee lawsuits alleging sex and age discrimination.
A group of Maryland residents sued Hogan June 30 to try to stop the governor from terminating special unemployment insurance benefits, including for gig and other workers not typically considered eligible for jobless benefits. A Baltimore judge has temporarily blocked Hogan from cutting off the benefits.