Heritage's Sherk attacks Obama's Failure to keep his promise

In a recent posting by Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk, he outlines the disclosure that the Obama Administration plans to eliminate – breaking Obama’s transparency and disclosure pledges.  Again, this provides another example of this Administration’s war on victims of forced unionism by eliminating another peek inside how their forced union dollars are being used.

Contrary to campaign promises to increase transparency and accountability, the Obama Administration has announced plans to rescind union accountability and financial transparency regulations implemented by the Department of Labor (DOL) during the Administration of George W. Bush.

These regulations make union officials more accountable to union members and deter fraud and embezzlement. The DOL has convicted hundreds of union officials over the past eight years. Rescinding these forms will facilitate fraud and harm union members.

Union Financial Transparency Regulations

On January 21, the DOL published regulations updating the Form LM-2, the annual financial disclosure report unions file with the DOL. Unions collect between 1 and 2 percent of their members’ earnings as dues, and union officers are required to spend that money on the workers’ behalf–they may not use union funds for their personal interest. The LM-2 revisions required unions to:

  • Disclose the total value of all benefits received by union officers and employees;
  • Disclose the names of parties buying and selling union assets; and
  • Itemize union receipts (currently unions must itemize only expenditures).

The DOL also updated the LM-30 conflict of interest reporting form that union officers and employees must file. These forms bring to light situations where union officers receive gifts or otherwise benefit from companies that their union does business with. They deter sweetheart deals where companies that give “gifts” to union officers get union business on favorable terms. The revisions required more union officials (such as shop stewards) to report potential conflicts of interest.