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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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July 16th, 2014
06:26 PM ET

Did Cabinet secretary illegally fundraise?

(CNN) – When you fundraise for a candidate, it's your right.

When the labor secretary does it, it's quite possibly illegal.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee, who are demanding to know whether the White House illegally used taxpayer money for political purposes, released audio recordings Wednesday, which they claim reveals former Hilda Solis asking a subordinate to contribute money and recruit others for a fundraiser for a pro-Obama group while she was still labor secretary in 2012.

"Hi, this is Hilda Solis calling, just calling you off-the-record here. Wanted to ask you if you could help us get folks organized to come to a fundraiser that we're doing for Organizing for America for Obama campaign," Solis says on the audio recording. "Wanted to ask you if you might help contribute or get other folks to help out."

So was what Solis did actually illegal? That was never officially determined because the Office of Special Counsel, which was looking into it, effectively dropped the case when Solis resigned in January 2013.

Her office has not responded to CNN's request for comment.

The White House press secretary would only say, this is part of an ongoing investigation.

Republicans released the tape after a current top White House adviser David Simas stiff-armed their subpoena to testify at their hearing earlier today, claiming immunity.

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