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November 10, 2004

Taking On The SEIU

An anti-union watchdog group has filed a complaint against the largest government workers union in the country, alleging that the group illegally spent millions of dollars in dues on partisan political campaigns:

An anti-union group is urging the Federal Election Commission to investigate one of the largest unions in the country, claiming the Service Employees International Union unlawfully spent workers' dues to elect Democrats in last week's election.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation said Wednesday that SEIU gave millions of dollars from members' dues to a partisan political group, America Coming Together, which in turn spent the money illegally to finance political campaigns through the Democratic National Committee.

Using dues, which get extorted from workers in closed shops, for political purposes has been banned for at least the last two years. Unions have to raise money through PACs or 527s with voluntary donations in order to contribute to political campaigns. The SEIU, which endorsed Howard Dean in the primaries and John Kerry in the general election, claims to have spent $65 million, legally, in the 2004 election cycle. That amount of money makes this reply from the SEIU sound rather suspicious:

"We are confident we are in compliance with the law," said spokeswoman T.J. Michels. "It's not surprising an anti-union group is making these allegations about a political mobilization spearheaded by thousands of SEIU members who want to put our country back on track for working families."

If "thousands" of union members donated $65 million for this electoral cycle, it would represent a rather substantial amount per member, wouldn't it? 100,000 members would have to had donated an average of $650 to the effort. I suppose that's possible, but if SEIU members have seven C-notes just wasting space in their wallets as a matter of course, then I suspect we've found one place where a deficit hawk like Kerry could find some cost savings. And that assumes that "thousands" adds up to six figures, which also seems somewhat doubtful.

Lkke John McCain himself admitted after the 527 debacle this year, money always finds a way back into the process. I'd say that if the SEIU itself claims it spent that much money on this cycle, then at least some of that funding came from the mandatory taxes dues it collects from its membership. Hopefully the FEC will act with haste in investigating this complaint.


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