PITTSBURGH, PA – On Friday, Congressman Conor Lamb (D-PA) created a viral sensation when he tweeted a video of him singing “Get Me to the Church On Time” by Frank Sinatra as he hurriedly drove from D.C. back to Pittsburgh to get married on Saturday morning. The video garnered over 150,000 views and helped bolster the image of Conor Lamb as likable wonderboy of the Democratic Party.
However, Payday Report has learned that Lamb has married Hailey Haldeman, a controversial corporate lawyer at the notorious anti-union firm Jones Day.
Last March, Lamb credited for his stunning upset in high profile #PA18 Special Election last year.
“Organized labor built Western Pennsylvania…Tonight, they have reasserted their right to have a major part in our future” Lamb told a crowd of union supporters during his nationally televised victory speech last March in Cannonsburg, PA.
However, Lamb’s marriage to Haldeman, as well as previous statements Lamb made that a $15 an hour minimum wage is too high, have made many in organized labor questions his commitment to their values.
In Congress, Lamb has voted with Trump 54% of the time. He was one of only three Democrats to vote for extending the Trump tax cuts; a measure, which passed by only 2 votes. The Central Catholic graduate was also one of only 18 Democrats to vote for a resolution praising ICE and denouncing attempts to abolish it.
Lamb’s marriage to Haldeman has confirmed to some labor leaders that Lamb’s votes with Trump weren’t done out of political expediency, but were a reflection of the elite corporate lawyer worlds in which he and his wife socialize.
“We never really trusted the guy in the first place, but then he goes and marries someone from Jones Day. You just can’t trust a guy who would do something like that,” says one senior labor leader, who declined to go on the record out of fear of retaliation against his membership from Lamb’s political patron Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Members of Congress also routinely get involved in applying pressure to employers to come to an agreement during labor disputes. With Jones Day representing many of the region’s anti-union employers, Lamb may be hesitant to apply pressure to employers represented by Jones Day if he felt it could negatively affect the career of his wife.
Among organized labor, Haldeman’s firm, Jones Day has garnered a reputation as one of the nastiest anti-union law firms in the country. Recently, the Columbia Journalism Review profiled how Jones Day held a secret summit, where they instructed media companies on how to stop the growing digital media unionization movement.
Currently, Jones Day is representing Slate as they push the Writers’ Guild union to accept “right-to-work” style open shop language as part of their contract talks. The union at Slate has refused to accept the provision and in December, workers at Slate voted to authorize a strike by a margin of 52 to 1 to resist management’s demands.
“Negotiations, where Jones Day is at the table, are uglier than anything else we see,” says Robert Struckman, president of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild told the Columbia Journalism Review. “Negotiations are always hard, but they’re not always ugly. Jones Day makes the process ugly.”
It’s unclear what involvement Haldeman has had in the firm’s anti-union practices. Haldeman did not return Payday’s request for comment.
However, Haldeman has bragged openly on Jones Day’s website about her role as the lead associate representing Sherwin Williams in a high-profile lead paint removal case brought by 11 municipalities in California. As a lawyer, Haldeman successfully worked to reduce Sherwin William’s responsibility to remove lead paint from over 4 million homes in California.
As a protegee of Jones Day partner Paul Pohl, who made his fortune representing big tobacco companies, Haldeman has also represented some of the most toxic polluters in the country including Transocean for their role in the BP Oil Spill.
In addition to her work at Jones Day, Haldeman also sits on the board of the Mattress Factory art museum, where she is listed as the only practice attorney on the board. In 2018, The Mattress Factory faced NLRB charges for illegally retaliating against a group of women, who reported sexual assault by a more senior member of the museum’ staff.
At the time, the board and museum staff were heavily criticized by the women at the museum for failing to take appropriate legal action to remove the staffer accused of sexual assault for the better part of a year. The board also was heavily criticized by the group of women for failing to take action to reverse the retaliation
Only after facing the threat of having the museum’s funding pulled by the Allegheny County Regional Asset Control District Board, did the board finally agree to reach a settlement with the women in December. The terms of the settlement have not yet been released.
It’s unclear what role Haldeman has played in advising Lamb in political matters. However, Haldeman was a near-ubiquitous presence at Lamb’s side throughout his campaign and was regularly seen conferring with Lamb’s top aides.
Congressman Lamb’s office did not respond to request for comment when asked about what type of political influence his wife Jones Day’s Haldeman has played on Lamb. The campaign also did not respond to request for comment about what type of measures Lamb has made to prevent any conflicts of interests arise from his wife Haldeman’s work at Jones Day.
Lamb’s refusal to answer press inquiries is not new. During his campaign, the former Marine once famously hide in the back of a barn at the Greene County Fairgrounds to avoid answering questions about immigration.
(Update: Since publication, the article has been updated to clarify the nature of the financial conflicts of interests presented by Congressman Lamb’s marriage to a lawyer employed at Jones Day).