10.01.2008 0

Obama on Union Corruption: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

  • On: 10/08/2008 10:16:49
  • In: Big Labor
  • If Barack Obama has his way, one of the major sources of evidence for exposing rampant union corruption – the very financial reporting and disclosure requirements relied upon by the Department of Labor – will be rolled back in short order. And the union scofflaws will be set free.

    In a move which has gone largely unnoticed for most of President Bush’s tenure of office, the Department of Labor, headed by Secretary Elaine Chao, has sought to improve the financial reporting and disclosure requirements of unions. And in the process it has taken on the rampant corruption that has long pervaded unions in the U.S.

    As ALG News has reported, the Department of Labor has taken up over 50 union corruption cases since January alone. And it, according to Townhall’s Robert Bluey, just since 2001, has produced as many as 900 indictments and 850 convictions of officials who were embezzling funds, taking bribes, and committing mail fraud, conspiracy, election fraud, as well as other blatantly felonious activities.

    Now, the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee wants that all to come to an end. According to Mr. Bluey:

    “Sen. Barack Obama’s support for ending federal oversight of the Teamsters is the clearest indication yet of how a Democratic administration would treat labor unions… Both Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton wooed the Teamsters in hopes of securing its coveted endorsement. But only Obama went so far as to say that government oversight had ‘run its course.’ The union endorsed Obama in February.”

    In many ways, the process of rolling back Secretary Chao’s initiative has already begun. Last year, Democrats in Congress cut the enforcement office at Labor’s budget was cut by $3 million. And Congress attempted, at the behest of their Big Labor puppet-masters, to render meaningless the reporting requirements embodied in the revised LM-30 conflicts of interest disclosure form. It is the form that requires union officers to disclose potential conflicts to the Department, and thus union members.

    National Review yesterday shed a little more light on what is included in the program directed by Ms. Chao – and targeted for extinction by Mr. Obama:

    “Chao’s most significant achievement, however, may be proactive rather than defensive: Unions now must provide a far more detailed accounting of their money and activities. In last week’s hearing, Harkin called this ‘going after labor unions’ for making them file ‘onerous new financial disclosure requirements for rank-and-file members.’ In reality, Chao has empowered rank-and-file members by demanding that labor leaders comply with modern standards of transparency. They must report income, expenses, salaries, and so on. It’s all online in a searchable database, too. It means that in the future, union bosses will have a harder time keeping the lid on everything from their left-wing politicking to the bar tabs they rack up at their Las Vegas conventions.

    “Harkin and the Democrats seem eager to expand the Department of Labor’s budget in every area — except this one.”

    Of course the Democrats in Congress do not care to continue funding this vital program: it poses a direct threat to the very corruption party officials often depend upon in order to channel union funds to Hard Left-wing political causes.

    Chao, herself, however, may yet get the last laugh on the party bigwigs and their union cronies. According to the National Review:

    “If a Democrat is elected president this year, Chao’s successor may view dismantling these new rules as his first priority. The fight will be made difficult, however, by the fact that Chao has spent years putting the rules in place and refining their use.”

    That of course, probably won’t stop a President Barack Obama from kowtowing to his new best friend, Teamster Boss James Hoffa, who has endorsed Senator Obama and is actively campaigning for him. It was on behalf of the Teamsters that Obama specifically called for Labor’s revealing oversight to come to an end. And it is a political debt the powerful union boss is sure to call due early in any Obama administration.

    Democrats in Congress have unwittingly given the American people a unique opportunity to unmask the Hard Left’s true interests with their opposition to Secretary Chao’s enforcement program. By opposing the reasonable reporting requirements, and seeking to defund Labor’s vigilant enforcement, Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats are proving that they care more about the political machinery that unions provide than that they the laws protecting union members against embezzlement, fraud, and outright bribes.

    In short, the self-proclaimed “agent of change” has resorted to old-time backroom politics at its worst.

    ALG Perspective: ALG News would like to tip its hat to Secretary Chao’s important achievements. Clearly, highlighting rampant union corruption is one way that Labor’s enforcement program, one of the Bush administration’s important domestic achievements, may be preserved in future administrations, because it underscores the very real need for the program. It also puts Congressional Democrats on the spot to see if they are even interested in ensuring transparency of one of their most powerful supporters. Based on their outright opposition, it is clear they are not.

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