04.30.2009 0

Obama De-funding the Union Corruption Busters

  • On: 05/11/2009 10:58:31
  • In: Big Labor
  • By Don Todd

    The President’s fiscal year 2010 budget for the federal government was unveiled last Thursday and surprisingly he found one agency that he thinks deserves a 9% budget cut. This agency is the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) in the U.S. Department of Labor. Obama proposed to cut its budget from $45 million in fiscal year 2009 to $41 million in fiscal year 2010.

    OLMS is the federal agency that investigates financial crimes that occur when union officials steal from their union. OLMS also investigates cases where union officials engage in fraud and other corrupt practices in conducting union officer elections.

    Over the last eight years this office secured over 900 criminal convictions of union officials for embezzlement and other crimes and obtained court orders of over $91 million dollars – dollars that will be returned to union members. One would think that given Obama’s emphasis on helping unions that he would want to beef up the only agency in the federal government that watches out for union members and prosecutes those who steal from them.

    However, apparently Obama believes that there is no need to prosecute those union officials who steal from their members because his budget cuts this agency, while at the same time other enforcement agencies in the Labor Department are given a huge boost. For instance, the Wage and Hour Division in the Labor Department received a boost of 18%, from $201 million in fiscal year 2009 to $238 in fiscal year 2010.

    In the last appropriations cycle OLMS was the only agency in the entire Labor Department that was targeted by Congressional Democrats for a budget cut. Democrats were successful in cutting the budget from $47 million to $45. Now with a Democratic president in the White House and Democratic control of Congress one can only wonder where the final budget number will land.

    The loss of $4 million dollars, millions that are being shifted to other programs such as the Wage and Hour Division, will most certainly in a reduction of the ability of OLMS to prosecute those who steal from the working man and woman.

    My quick back of the envelope calculations lead me to believe that OLMS is probably looking at staff reductions in the neighborhood of 40-50 personnel. This is significant for an agency that has slightly over 300 personnel nationwide.

    Union officials invested very heavily to elect Obama and now that investment is paying dividends by the truckload. As ALG News has previously chronicled, the Obama payback to unions began immediately after he was sworn in and is continuing.

    Now the list of huge union favors given by Obama to unions includes cutting the only watchdog that helps keep unions honest. Given the huge budget increases to other areas of the Labor Department it cannot be said that the cuts to OLMS were done in the name of fiscal responsibility. Obama should have cut the real fat in the Labor Department budget and left OLMS, a little agency that is less than one-tenth of one percent of the Labor Department’s budget, alone.

    Don Todd is Director of Research for Americans for Limited Government and formerly served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Labor Management Standards under President George W. Bush.

    Copyright © 2008-2024 Americans for Limited Government