Biden Big Labor Pal Accused of Raiding Union Pension Fund

An internal union audit charges that IAFF czar Harold Schaitberger (center right) improperly awarded himself a pension to which he isn’t entitled. Schaitberger crony Joe Biden wants to hand him even more power! Credit: Associated Press

Pro-Union Monopoly Labor Laws Shield Shady IAFF Union Chieftain

Harold Schaitberger, the high-living president of the powerful International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF/AFL-CIO) union and a close political ally of presumptive 2020 Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, is currently facing accusations of large-scale corruption.

The accusations, as reporter Yuichiro Kakutani explained in a March 30 article for the Washington Free Beacon, come from Edward Kelly, one of Mr. Schaitberger’s “closest deputies” and the general secretary-treasurer of the IAFF union since 2016.

In a 105-page internal memorandum submitted to the IAFF executive board March 20 and first reported on publicly by Mr. Kakutani, Mr. Kelly details how Mr. Schaitberger, in the reporter’s words, “inappropriately siphoned nearly $1 million” from the union pension fund.

For years, the thievery by Mr. Schaitberger and former General Secretary-Treasurer Thomas Miller was concealed through “systematic misrepresentation in financial reporting,” according to Mr. Kelly.

Roughly $6 Million in Union Funds Allegedly Still Unaccounted For

“Courtesy of roughly 300,000 public-safety officers across America who are forced by law to let IAFF bosses speak for them on matters concerning their pay, benefits, and work rules, Harold Schaitberger rakes in a hefty $388,000 annual salary,” noted National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen.

“But it seems he believes he deserves even more coerced-dues money.

“According to Edward Kelly and his team of auditors, after Mr. Schaitberger became IAFF general president in September 2000, he began collecting an additional $5,105 a month from the union’s pension system. Thomas Miller did the same thing during the six years he was secretary-treasurer.

“As the Free Beacon has reported, ‘three separate law firms,’ all contracted by the Kelly team, ‘found that these pension payouts violated IRS regulations that require employees to actually leave their employer’s service before collecting pensions . . . .’

“And the estimated million dollars in illegal pension payments Mr. Schaitberger ultimately accumulated may be just the tip of the iceberg.

“Mr. Kelly charges that Mr. Schaitberger accrued ‘additional millions of dollars through the [IAFF] retirement program without notifying the IRS . . . .’

“Altogether, roughly $6 million put into the pension fund for union professionals, largely by rank-and-file union members with their hard-earned dues dollars, is ‘unaccounted for.’”

Joe Biden Wants to Institute Nationwide Monopoly Bargaining by Federal Mandate

Mr. Leen emphasized that no one who has been paying attention should be surprised by the new charges of rampant corruption against Mr. Schaitberger:

“The facts about Harold Schaitberger have been known for a long time.

“Back in 2015, for example, a New York Times story by labor reporter Noam Scheiber showed how he had bought the loyalty of many of his IAFF lieutenants by allowing them to collect, on top of their substantial salaries, phony ‘per diem’ payments to which they weren’t entitled.

“Of course, the fraudulent ‘per diems’ paid to union officers while they remained in their city of residence came at the expense of the union rank and file.

“Union spokesmen didn’t even try to challenge the facts reported by Mr. Scheiber, but little came of his article. Five-and-a-half years later, it’s apparently still ‘business as usual’ at the IAFF.

“How are indubitably crooked government union bosses like Harold Schaiberger able to hold onto power, year after year?

“Unfortunately, labor laws now on the books in well over 30 states authorize and promote union monopoly control over public-safety jobs.

“Time and again, monopoly-bargaining laws have helped unscrupulous union bosses consolidate their power to such an extent that they became nearly, if not entirely, untouchable.”

Mr. Leen continued:

“Joe Biden, whom Mr. Schaitberger endorsed back in April 2019, before any other national union boss, is eager to reward his patron by signing a federal law foisting union monopoly bargaining on firefighters and other public-sector workers in all 50 states.

“But the National Right to Work Committee is fighting back.

“Through our Survey 2020 program, the Committee is mobilizing freedom-loving citizens nationwide to contact their federal candidates, including Joe Biden, and encouraging them to oppose union monopoly bargaining and forced union dues.

“The Survey 2020 will leave Big Labor politicians like Joe Biden with a choice: Repudiate their records of support for union special privileges, or face the potential political consequences.”