(AP) Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez is expected to face tough questions at his confirmation hearing about his tenure as head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
The hearing Thursday will be the first time Perez publicly addresses GOP critics who say he made some questionable decisions as the nation's top civil rights enforcer.
Republican lawmakers have criticized Perez's decision not to intervene in a whistle-blower case that could have netted taxpayers up to $200 million. They've also raised questions about his decision to dismiss some defendants in a voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party.
Democrats say Perez's critics are politically motivated. Civil rights groups, labor unions and Hispanic organizations have heaped praise on Perez, calling him a strong leader and forceful advocate for labor rights.