Obama Labor Department: A School For Scandal

Union Consultant Charged With Overseeing Union Financial Reports

(Source: May 2011 NRTWC Newsletter)

On his first full day as U.S. President, Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13490, otherwise known as the Ethics Executive Order.

Under E.O.13490, presidential appointees are required to sign a pledge affirming that, for two years after the day they are appointed, they will not “participate in any particular matter involving a specific party that includes a former employer or former client.”

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” Mr. Obama vowed.

Unfortunately, almost from the day E.O.13490 was first issued, the Obama Administration has repeatedly ignored its letter as well as its spirit when it comes to appointees whose job is to oversee and regulate labor unions.

Thousands of Union Bosses to Be Exempted From Disclosing Any Conflicts of Interest

Last month, the National Right to Work Committee issued a report on one of the most egregious examples of an Obama appointee making policies that clearly benefit his former union-boss clients: John Lund, now the director of the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS).

Mr. Lund is a former employee of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE/AFL-CIO).

And he is currently on unpaid leave from the Madison-based University of Wisconsin School for Workers, of which the AFL-CIO and many other unions, as well as many union benefit funds, are clients.

But now Mr. Lund is responsible for overseeing federally-mandated union financial disclosures and criminal investigations regarding union financial irregularities and embezzlement!

“Barack Obama solemnly pledged in 2008 that working in his Administration would ‘not be about serving the interests of your former employer or your future employer,'” recalled Right to Work President Mark Mix.

“But it seems plain that serving the interests of his former and future Big Labor employers and clients is exactly what John Lund is up to at the OLMS.”

As an example, Mr. Mix pointed out that, just a couple of months into the Obama Administration, the OLMS announced a “non-enforcement policy” allowing thousands of union stewards to avoid disclosing payments they receive from employers for union activities that supposedly benefit employees.

Moreover, Mr. Lund reportedly now has in the works a permanent revision of conflict-of-interest reports (known as LM-30’s) that would exempt thousands of union officials from ever reporting payments they receive from employers for jobs they don’t actually have to do, that is, “no-show” jobs.

And Mr. Lund has already eliminated basic financial reporting requirements for many powerful and politically active teacher unions like the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC/NEA) and other union “intermediate bodies.”

Mark Mix Calls For Congressional Probe of Labor Department Cronyism

The “Obama Administration Personnel Alert” regarding John Lund is accessible to the public at nrtwc.org — the Committee web site. It has also been posted on Andrew Breitbart’s much-visited Big Government web site, and sent directly to key members of Congress.

“It’s long past time for the Obama Administration to start answering tough questions regarding union-boss cronyism in its Labor Department, and about John Lund in particular,” said Committee President Mix.

“In 2009 and 2010, when Big Labor Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress, there was no interest on Capitol Hill in pursuing such an investigation. That’s disappointing, but not surprising.

“Now that professedly pro-Right to Work elected officials control the U.S. House, there’s no plausible reason why Mr. Lund shouldn’t be called before a House committee to explain why he has opted not to comply with E.O.13490.

“Additionally, House investigators should invite Robert Cusick, the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, to explain why the OGE is allowing Mr. Lund to flout this executive order, which is, after all, the law of the land.

“During his two-year tenure at the OLMS, Mr. Lund has cut the number of labor union investigators, rescinded disclosure of union officer benefits, eliminated financial reporting for so-called ‘intermediate’ unions, and dramatically reduced conflict-of-interest reporting.

“Such actions benefit Big Labor, but undercut the interests of Americans who are forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

“How does making it easier for corrupt union officials to get away with mismanagement and fraud help working people? That’s not an easy question to answer, but John Lund should be given the opportunity to try.”