The Mysteries of the House IT Scandal

It’s the Washington conspiracy that barely speaks its name. And unlike the incandescent “Russian interference” scandal dominating the news for well over a year, this one has the potential to cause grave harm to our national security. The maypole of this “other” conspiracy is a Pakistan-born immigrant, Imran Awan, aided by extended family and friends. As information technology security specialists for dozens of Democrats in the House of Representatives, the family allegedly used their ample incomes from their Capitol Hill jobs and various shady side businesses to assist the Pakistani government. Mr. Awan was arrested by the FBI nearly a year ago. He and his wife would be indicted for bank fraud soon after. They now also need to investigated for the possibility of espionage. Such a probe must shine a light not only on the Awans but also on their main enabler, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. (in photo).… Read More ➡

Chrysler Executive Pleads Guilty to Concealing Facts in UAW Scandal

Michael Brown might not have been a player in the Chrysler-United Auto Workers pay-for-play scandal that broke wide open last summer, but he was a knowledgeable spectator all the same. And that didn’t sit well with the feds. On May 25, Brown, formerly Fiat Chrysler’s director of employee relations, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of misprision of a felony in connection with the bribing by Chrysler management of several UAW officials with money and other things of value to drop certain issues during collective bargaining sessions a few years ago. Five other people have pleaded guilty so far. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS, and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

According to prosecutors, Brown was aware that certain Fiat Chrysler executives had made or authorized payments to … Read More ➡

AFGE President in California Charged with Fraud

On May 22, Roger Harris, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3048, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California with one count of wire fraud in the amount of $36,150 against the union, which represents employees of Lompoc federal prison. The indictment follows a joint probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, and the Office of Inspector General for each of the Justice Department and the Treasury Department.… Read More ➡

Twin Cities AFGE Local Treasurer Sentenced for Theft

On May 21, Latasha Wilson, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1969, was sentenced in Ramsey County (Minn.) District Court to 20 years of probation and 100 hours of community service for theft of more than $35,000 in funds from the Minneapolis union, which represents employees at the VA hospital in that city. Wilson had pleaded guilty in March after being charged last October of stealing $58,150 during January 2013-December 2015. Although Minneapolis is in Hennepin County, the offenses occurred in neighboring Ramsey County. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

NYC-Area Production Workers Boss Sentenced for Shakedowns

For several years Roland Bedwell was about last person in the world that New York City-area public works contractors wanted to see, especially if they wanted to do their own hiring. He’s now officially out of commission. On May 18, Bedwell, business manager for the Roslyn Heights (Long Island), N.Y.-based United Plant and Production Workers Local 175, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for extortion of a business owner, one of many several such crimes he masterminded while as a union leader. Bedwell had pleaded guilty last August. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and the NYPD.

Union Corruption Update described this case last summer. Roland Bedwell, 57, a resident of Freeport, L.I., was the leader of a 15-man shakedown … Read More ➡

Rhode Island Police Union Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Apparently, theft was more widespread at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 8 than some had thought. On May 24, Adam Conheeny, former treasurer of the Newport-based union, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island to fraudulently converting more than $30,000 in local funds to his own use. The case is a consequence of the probe of former Lodge 8 president Christopher Hayes, who was sentenced last July in federal court for stealing more than $70,000 from the union. The Conheeny case, like that of Hayes, follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the Rhode Island State Police.

According to prosecutors, Conheeny, now 46, a resident of Portsmouth, R.I., and a former Newport police officer, during August 2009-December 2014 used his union debit card to cover personal expenses, wrote union checks payable to himself, and … Read More ➡

California Court Says Farm Worker Ballots Must Be Counted

Counting votes shouldn’t be a tall order for a union, even for the highly reluctant United Farm Workers. But the union now must change its ways. Last Wednesday, May 30, a California appeals court ruled 3-0 that the state’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board must count votes cast in 2013 by employees of a large grower, Gerawan Farming Co., over whether to decertify the union as its bargaining agent. The “nonpartisan” ALRB, the UFW’s de facto partner, had impounded the ballots. According to the court, the board’s allegations of unfair labor practices by Gerawan were “unsupported by the record as a whole.” The UFW vows to appeal the case to the State Supreme Court while continuing to collect dues payments and giving back nothing in return.

When it comes to using the political system to protect and expand economic turf, the United Farm Workers has few rivals in organized labor. The … Read More ➡

Valerie Jarrett Is Not a Victim of Anything

Last week comedienne-actress Roseanne Barr managed to get herself fired by ABC from her rebooted TV sitcom following her highly unflattering tweet about the facial features of Valerie Jarrett (in photo), longtime political consigliere to Barack Obama. Roseanne’s words were clearly over the line. But despite issuing a profuse apology, she’s now eternally marked as a “racist.” The saddest thing about all this was that Jarrett was portrayed to be a victim.

Roseanne Barr, now 65, a native of Salt Lake City, made her initial reputation during the Eighties as a stand-up comedienne. Her schtick suggested manic depression with a dose of laughing gas. In 1988 she snagged a television deal with ABC in which she would star in her own situation comedy as a “working-class domestic goddess.” The show, Roseanne, instantly caught fire. She would win an Emmy, a Golden Globe and other awards during its nine-year … Read More ➡

Trump Executive Order Curbs Federal Employee Union ‘Official Time’ Abuse

Employers have a right to insist that employees limit the amount of time they may devote to conducting union business during work hours. President Trump thinks this principle should apply to the unions that represent people who work in federal agencies. Last Friday, May 25, Trump issued an executive order designed to curtail on-the-job union activity. Federal employees now may spend no more than 25 percent of a work day on such matters. Administration officials estimate the move will save taxpayers at least $100 million a year. The executive order was one of three issued that day to improve accountability within the civil service bureaucracy. Federal employee unions and their allies on Capitol Hill, predictably, are outraged.

National Legal and Policy Center more than once has examined the issue of federal employees collecting pay while on union or “official” time. Back in December 2012, this became a leading issue for … Read More ➡

Steelworkers Local Secretary in Washington State Sentenced

Jason Richard sought leniency. And he got it – up to a point. On April 12, Richard, formerly secretary-treasurer for United Steelworkers Local 12-990, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington to six months in prison and two years of supervised release for embezzling more than $40,000 in funds from the Wallula union. He also will have to pay residual restitution. The union represents workers at the Boise paper mill near Pasco operated by The Packaging Corporation of America. Richard had pleaded guilty last December following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Richard, now 42, became a union official in December 2014. It didn’t take long for him to raid local coffers. According to prosecutors, during January-October 2015 he wrote himself four unauthorized union checks, and also made 74 debit card purchases and 25 balance transfers for personal use. Other … Read More ➡