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10.01.2008 0

Shady Political Funding from Labor Alliance

  • On: 10/21/2008 21:42:23
  • In: Big Labor

  • One would think that labor unions had more pressing issues with which to occupy their time and money. Think again.

    It seems that union leaders in California care more about a local political campaign than their own members’ financial well-being and benefits. And just how much do they care about this particular race? 4.5 million dollars’ worth.

    The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors candidate Mark Ridley-Thomas has received more than $4.5 million in unofficial campaign donations from a labor alliance in California. The alliance, which includes the corruption-riddled union leader Tyrone Freeman, has come under heavy fire for raising millions of dollars worth of illegitimate union dues and then funneling the dirty money into Ridley-Thomas’ campaign.

    Ridley-Thomas’ opponent, Bernard C. Parks, is spearheading the inquiry into the shady political meddling at the hand of Freeman and the labor alliance. Parks has come out and demanded that his opponent return the money. As Parks was quoted saying:

    “Mr. Ridley-Thomas, how do you feel about benefiting from the money of people who are hovering just above the poverty line? Give the money back to the people who need it most.”

    A large portion of the money that Parks is demanding to be returned was used for an extensive advertisement campaign, which, as the article reports, was used to improve Ridley-Thomas’ name recognition in the black media. This money includes $35,000 spent on local radio advertising and $22,000 on local print advertising.

    Mr. Parks has a strong point. Although Ridley-Thomas is not legally obligated to return the money—as it was never officially given to him—he ought to be ashamed for using money that was illicitly taken from labor union members.

    This shady incident reiterates one of the biggest problems with labor unions—their unabashed politicization. It is unfortunate enough that struggling members are forced to forfeit large sums of their paychecks to be a part of a union in the first place, but to think that union leaders are illegitimately using these dues to play politics is despicable.

    As this recent case in California illustrates, labor unions remain an insidious political tool of those who wield the most power within their ranks.

    They simply should have more important things to deal with than illicitly influencing political campaigns.

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