For the Third Time Obama Gives Unions A Break From Transparency Rules

-By Warner Todd Huston

The Obama administration and the Democrat Party has yet again instituted new rules to allow unions to get out of having to report their financial doings to the federal government by again rolling back reporting requirements.

Obviously as far as Obama is concerned "transparency" is one of those things that only enemies should be forced to observe. If you are an Obama friend, no transparency is required. It is interesting to note the language that Democrats used to excuse their newest roll back of transparency requirements, too (my bold).

"The [Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act's] various reporting provisions are designed to empower labor organizations, their members, and the public by providing certain information about the finances of labor organizations and union officers and employees. A fair and transparent government regulatory regime must consider and balance the interests of labor organizations, their members, and the public, including the benefits served by disclosure, the burden placed on reporting entities, and preserving the independence of unions and their officials from unnecessary government regulation."

Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 153; Tuesday, August 10, 2010; Proposed Rules, P. 48416

So how does allowing unions to misuse, abuse, and hide expenditures from their own membership, the public and the government by skipping transparency requirements help anyone but the union chiefs that want to hide what they are doing from the prying eyes of reformers?

Nonetheless, that is what Obama and his Party is doing. This newest rollback of reporting requirements is yet another pay off to unions that have pumped millions into the campaign coffers of Democrats and the president.

But this is nothing new. This is the third time since Obama took office as president that he and the Democrats have weakened rules meant to hold unions accountable for their spending, their salaries, their political activities, and their investments.

Upon entering office one of the very first things that Obama did in the arena of labor relations was direct his Dept. of Labor chief to ease reporting requirements on union finances. Since then it has been discovered that unions have been violating disclosure rules for decades and Obama is making that even easier for them to do.

Then a few months later the Dept. of Labor announced plans to rescind changes made to the reporting rules (the LM-2 reporting form) that were put in place to force unions toward more transparency in their finances.

And what has Sec. of Labor Hilda Solis been more worried about since she took the position? Aside from making the lives of union scammers easier, she's been trying to make sure that illegal immigrants get "paid fairly" for their labor!

This is all of a piece for the Obama administration. Obama was put in Washington by the millions of dollars given him by left-wing unions and he's been paying them back since day one even if it means harming the economy and making the lie to his claims that transparency was an important goal for his administration.

Ilyse Schuman has a pretty good run down of what those rules changes are at Lexology.

Specifically, the proposed changes would accomplish the following:

  • Return to the pre-2007 practice whereby union officers and employees were not required to report compensation they received under union leave and "no docking" policies established under collective bargaining agreements or by custom and practice of the workplace.

  • Exclude union stewards and similar union representatives, such as a member of a safety committee or a bargaining committee, from having to file Form LM-30.
  • Create an administrative exemption whereby union officials would generally need to report only loans - such as home mortgages - from bona fide credit institutions if the terms of such loans are on terms more favorable than those available to the public.
  • Limit the reporting obligation with respect to interests in and payments from employers that compete against employers represented by the official's union or that the union actively seeks to represent, modify the scope of reporting with respect to payments from certain trusts and unions, and exempt union officials from reporting payments they receive from trusts or, as a general rule, from unions.
  • Hold union officers and employees to the same reporting obligations under the LMRDA.

(Originally posted at TheUnionLabelBlog.com)

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