The consultants who advise employers on how to avert union organizing or collective bargaining demands soon may have to reveal a good deal more about themselves and their operations. This past Tuesday, June 21, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), to the delight of labor officials, published a proposal in the Federal Register to expand the circumstances forcing companies to disclose information about their advisers. Because the rule change would not apply to union consultants, it appears to be motivated heavily by politics.
When President Obama in March 2010 signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), the nation's most expensive social legislation in decades, he announced, "The bill I'm signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for and marched for and hungered to see." Yet what the law seems to have set in motion is a rush to obtain exemptions from group coverage requirements.
As the Department of Labor's top cop, Paul Tiao would have been uncomfortably close to the unions he would investigate. That's why he didn't get the job. Last Monday on May 9 President Obama withdrew Tiao's name from consideration as DOL Inspector General (IG) rather than subject him to a Senate Judiciary Committee grilling or install him via one-year recess appointment.
Elizabeth Warren (see photo) is an anomaly: a Harvard law professor and an outspoken populist. But as a ranking member of the Obama administration, she and her office are fast becoming unpopular - at least among many congressional Republicans. Since last September, Warren has served as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a powerful watchdog agency created by last year's financial reform overhaul.
NLPC is asking the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate the Barack H. Obama Foundation, which is soliciting tax-deductible contributions from the public although it is not tax exempt. The Foundation is named for Obama's father and is apparently based in Kenya. Its founder and chairman is Abon'go Malik Obama (in photo), whose father is also the father of President Obama.
The Foundation has addresses in Kenya and in Arlington, Virginia to which it asks that donations be sent. Two members of the NLPC staff went to the Arlington address on May 6. It is a commercial mail drop facility where the clerk touted the fact that the address "looked like a real office address" and the facility could arrange to forward mail to any location in the world.
I am tempted to say that President Obama rushing up to New York City to embrace Al Sharpton during the opening days of his campaign is evidence of a weakness in his re-election prospects. But it is much worse than that.
Barack Obama is failing to demonstrate leadership on racial issues, and leadership in general, by paying such homage to Sharpton. I thought the whole point of electing a black president was to allow the nation to rise above everything that Sharpton represents.
The mortgage foreclosure crisis in this country may have been superseded by events in Japan, Libya and elsewhere for now, but in its own way it's taking a heavy toll. And it's likely to get worse, given the context of evidence that an Obama-initiated homeowner subsidy program to stem the tide isn't working and of a new federal agency poised to extract $20 billion from lenders on behalf of heavily delinquent borrowers.
Government in Wisconsin, one probably has heard by now, is paralyzed. And the ultimate losers may be future generations of taxpayers. Last Thursday, February 17, up to 25,000 protestors, led by public-sector union officials, rallied in the state capital of Madison to intimidate legislators out of voting in favor of new Republican Governor Scott Walker's budget austerity plan, which includes major concessions from unions.
It's not every day that an American labor union gets investigated for possible ties to two of the world's most lethal terrorist organizations. But Chicago's Service Employees International Union Local 73 isn't an everyday union. Last September 24, FBI agents raided residences in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan of more than a dozen radical activists in an effort to connect them to the Hamas (Gaza and the West Bank) and FARC (Colombia) guerrilla movements. Two of the occupants were SEIU Local 73 chief steward and executive board member Joe Iosbaker and former local board member-steward Tom Burke. Neither they nor anyone else has been arrested. But as the case unfolds, questions have arisen over the possibility of involvement not only by the activists, but also by elements of the Chicago-based radical network that nurtured President Obama's political ambitions.