Ethics Violator: Craig Becker

The American Spectator looks behind the curtain at the man primarily responsible for turning the National Labor Relations Board into a vehicle for big labor advocacy -- former SEIU General Counsel Craig Becker.  But in doing so, Becker violated ethics pledges made by his boss, President Obama. For the last few months, Boeing has been clashing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over its decision to locate a plant in South Carolina. The NLRB argues that the airplane manufacturer illegally moved work from union factories in Washington state to a new $1 billion facility in the right-to-work Palmetto State. NLRB lawyers maintain this is straightforward retaliation against union workers, based on comments allegedly made by Boeing executives themselves. Business leaders have denounced this as an unprecedented bit of federal pro-union advocacy, with the House of Representatives last week voting to halt the Boeing case and others like it. The battle may soon intensify. Federal financial disclosure forms reveal that Craig Becker, a key union-friendly vote on the NLRB, owned stock in Boeing at the beginning of this year. Becker is one of federal agency's Democratic board members. According to documents obtained by the National Right to Work Committee, as of January 2011 Becker owned between $1,001 and $15,000 in Boeing stock, earning between $201 and $1,000 in dividends. This particular public financial disclosure report does not require more specific information. The disclosure already has people detecting a potential conflict of interest. "The fact that Mr. Becker owns or owned stock in Boeing could be extremely detrimental to the NLRB's case against that company," says F. Vincent Vernuccio, labor policy counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "If Mr. Becker currently owns stock in Boeing then he should recuse himself from hearing the case." Any recusal could imperil the NLRB's ability to take the Boeing case at all. Since former member Wilma Liebman's term expired, the normally five-member board is down to just three members. "The Supreme Court recently ruled that the NLRB must have three members or there will be no quorum," says Vernuccio. "If Becker is not able to sit on the case there can be no decision for Boeing." Another labor policy watcher familiar with Becker's Boeing investment acknowledges it is a relatively small amount of money. "But how big does it have to be before there can be a conflict of interest?" he asks. "It's not like there is a minimum where it would be okay." Becker, a perennial labor lightning rod, has faced calls to recuse himself before. A former lawyer for the AFL-CIO and SEIU, Becker said in a footnote to a June 2010 ruling that he would recuse  himself from cases in which either of those unions was a party. Becker cited compliance with the Obama administration's ethics policy as his reason for bowing out of those decisions.

Obama Labor Department: A School For Scandal

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!

National Right To Work Committee releases new report re: Obama appointed union financial reporting overseer

 Sign-Up For NRTWC’s Free Daily E-mailed Update Summary John Lund Former SEIU and IUOE Official, Big Labor Consultant, Former Pacific Northwest Labor College Director, and Former University of Wisconsin School for Workers Director (currently on unpaid leave from the School for Workers) (Download the full Report) APPOINTMENT: U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) Director Current Responsibilities:  Overseer of labor union financial reporting and disclosure, union officer conflict-of-interest reporting, and certain employer activities; he is responsible for criminal investigations regarding issues under his oversight such as labor union financial irregularities and embezzlement. Past and current non-DOL employers:  Lund is currently on unpaid leave from his other employer, University of Wisconsin’s School for Workers. The School for Workers is a taxpayer-supported institution with its primary function is to serve as a training center for union officials, such as the union organizers who ginned up the tension in Madison, Wisconsin and across the U.S. It is reported that, from 2004-2007, Lund worked closely with the AFL-CIO “on [union] financial accountability and transparency issues.” These are the issues Lund currently controls at DOL. He has been a consultant for the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, BLET , and IUOE, to name just a few. In his position of union trainer and consultant, Lund worked directly with many of the union officials who has recently rewarded with reduced reporting and disclosure regulations that he has instituted during his tenure at DOL. Lund is also in charge of the DOL office which investigates embezzlements and union election fraud, giving Lund the conflicting responsibility for making decisions about union officials he has trained and advised. In addition, Lund oversees union audits and he is now privy to DOL’s labor union auditing and criminal investigation techniques. Soon he will be back teaching these same union officers how to navigate around DOL audits.