The ACLU and the AFL-CIO have for now blocked an attempt by the federal government to strip workers of civil rights. It’s called a no-match letter, and if your boss gets one, run for cover.

Say your W-2 information contains social security number discrepancies (10 percent of all workers have a "no-match" problem), and the government sends these no-match letters to your boss. You’ll be required to re-establish the truth of your documentation (which is against the law, actually, if you’re an immigrant, but never mind that). These no-match letters have been used, according to John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, "to fire workers when workers try to organize, when they report a wage claim or workplace hazard, or when they get injured."But the real punch of the new and improved no-match letter lies in its so-called "safe harbor" stipulations for your boss because if he follows the procedures outlined in the no-match letter and then chooses to fire you or any of the workers in question, then "the termination will not be considered a civil rights violation by the Federal Government," writes Philip J. Perry of the law firm Latham & Watkins in a " client alert" on the firm’s website.

Philip J. Perry has a soft spot for these new regulations and would no doubt love to churn out the legalese (for $1,000 an hour, give or take a few hundred) for a company which gets a no-match letter and needs some help with those pesky workers. The folks who wrote the new regulations, our friends at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have had a swinging door policy with Perry since 2003. He’s been an insider even before then, actually, when in 1993 he married Elizabeth Cheney, taking on the dubious role as Dick Cheney’s son-in-law. See his Wikipedia entry.

In 2003, when he was general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), he acted as hit man for the Bush administration’s rabid anti-regulation ideology and was able to kill any attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to have a role in securing chemical plants against terrorist attacks. See Art Levine’s well-researched article on this at Washington Monthly. As Levine succinctly puts it of the Cheney-Perry double-team: "A flippant critic might say the father-in-law has been prosecuting a war that creates more terrorists abroad, while the son-in-law has been working to ensure they’ll have easy targets at home."

Perry then returned to Latham’s lucrative Homeland Security practice group later that year. In 2005 he went back into government as General Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier this year he flip-flopped once again and returned to Latham, just in time for the shock and awe of the new no-match regulations and to act as the firm’s "rainmaker" (fancy name for a cash cow). The new law’s been blocked so far, but barring any unforeseen hunting accidents with his father-in-law, I’d put my money on Perry jumping back into government to try and push them through.

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