19 October 2010

Fecklessly Favoring SEIU Kickbacks in Elections

The full board of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) decided to overrule their own General Counsel’s finding and declined to prosecute the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for violating federal election law for requiring local affiliates to contribute to its PAC.  This clearly violates FEC rules but the FEC will not take any action.  Thus, the SEIU will  effectively be allowed to force its members to contribute another $9 million in the next election cycle. To add insult to injury, the National Right to Work Foundation (NRWF) did not receive a full explanation of the FEC’s ruling until after the time for appealing the ruling had tolled.

In October 2008, the NRWF filed a complaint which challenged an amendment in the SEIU constitution that requires each local to contribute $6 per member to the SEIU International PAC.  The locals that did not implement this arrangement would be fined 150% of the charge.  NRWF President Mark Mix thought that this was prima facie case of coercion as well as a money laundering scheme since the penalty charges would come from general treasury funds, which are prohibited from being used for political purposes.

The FEC issued a one page letter of dismissal letter but did not fully explain their ruling for 111 days.  The FEC is supposed to immediately give its reply to the interested parties within a 60-day reply period so that everyone gets a chance to see the decision and comment upon it.  Bruce Cameron, the NRWF counsel that brought the complaint, asserted that: “To bring an appeal I have to show that the FEC abused its discretion. I can’t do that with a simple dismissal letter.” So the FEC overrules it is own General Counsel, does not prosecute obvious violations of election law, does not adhere it established standards for timely transparency and effectively precludes an appeal by an interested party.

This electoral injustice is not only relevant in the throes of a mid-term election campaign where union financial backing and boots on the ground for Get Out the Vote Effort, but because of an attempted Executive Branch appointment to the FEC.   The Obama Administration nominated SEIU labor lawyer John Sullivan to fill the open Democrat seat on the six person FEC board of governors. Questions have been raised about Sullivan’s involvement with the Clinton/DNC/McAuliffe/Teamster scandal that allowed Jimmy Hoffa to become President of the Teamsters.  The Sullivan nomination was quietly withdrawn by the Obama Administration in early October after 18 months complaining about the a broken appointment process.  Regarding the withdrawn Obama FEC nominee, I think of the title of a Bill Ayers opus “You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows.”

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