The Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation's President, Mark Mix has confirmed that his organization on November 20, has file a federal lawsuit, in US District Court, against the Department of Labor for failing to act on its FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request and that the DOL has continued to "stonewall" the organizations efforts to gain access to the information it has requested.
The request asks for records from communications and recorded events where specified Obama appointees and Big Labor official were presents, lists of lawsuits involving the Department of Labor and Deborah Greenfield within the past eight years, list of any gifts received by Solis in the past 5 years from Big Labor or its officials, specifically provide in detail (a) notes, (b) agreements, (c) communications, and (d) agendas related to the regulations related to the labor union and officer disclosure rules, copies of phone logs, and copies of any notes or documents related to any enforcement of any labor laws and any outside groups such as labor unions, American Rights at Work, or ACORN. Mix claims that a Conflict of Interest may exist between the DOL and unions with regards to union reporting requirements. The request was submitted April 6, 2009.
During a recent radio interview posted at the Right to Work Legal Defense Fund website, Mr. Mix specifically discussed two appointments to the Department of Labor who are alleged to previously have ties or were employed directly or indirectly by the AFL-CIO.
The current Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis and Acting Deputy Solicitor, Deborah Greenfield were two individuals that were named by Mix during the interview.
Labor Secretary Solis worked for a 501C4 lobby group, where she was alleged to be an Officer and Treasure of the Organization. A 501C4 includes unlimited rights to lobby government agencies and political officials. While in the House of Representatives, Solis championed the Employee Free Choice Act (Card Check) along with other pro union bills and was the only member of Congress on the board of a pro-union organization that strongly supports the act and for whom she served as treasurer starting in 2004. The lobby group is partially funded by the AFL-CIO, however according to the AFL-CIO, the union has no influence over the organization. During her confirmation hearings, Republican Mike Enzi pressed Solis on whether her unpaid high-level positions at American Rights at Work, constituted prohibited lobbying activity. Solis denied violation of rules of conduct and stated she had not helped lobbying. Solis did acknowledge that she had failed to report those positions on her annual House financial disclosure forms at the time, which a White House spokesperson argued was an"unintentional oversight". Unfortunately, for Solis she was first elected to the House in 2000 and reelected in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008 while she continued to hold her position with American Rights at Work until she
was appointed to the DOL. That begs the question of why she failed to disclose her position from
2005-2009? Her appointment has garnered heavy support from the AFL-CIO and other labor organizations.
Also mentioned was the current Department of Labor Acting Deputy Solicitor (attorney) Deborah Greenfield. Greenfield was a part of the Obama transition team and attorney that worked for the AFL-CIO in filling a lawsuit last year against the Department of Labor to stop new labor requirements proposed by the Bush administration. The requirements would have required large unions to report the amount of money from pension funds that are placed into the hands of investment managers. Now working as the Solicitor for the Department of Labor Greenfield is in charge of defending the DOL from the vary lawsuit that she prepared and filed for the AFL-CIO.
At the center of the controversy, is the fact that Solis has begun to repeal much of the regulations put in place by the Bush administration, allegedly at the request of union bosses. It is also alleged that she has gone even deeper to weaken union reporting requirements that may go all the way back as far as the Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959. Officially known as the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, passed by congress, to curb union corruption and ties to organized crime. The reporting requirements are there to preserve union members rights to see where their pension dues to the union have been invested and spent, and how much of the total pension funds have been vested. Twenty eight states require that employees pay union dues or they can be fired from their job. As a union member they have a right to know where those dues are going. Different unions can vest as much as 100% of its pension funds into investment accounts. Union officials pensions, however are invested, often separately, from the rank and file members, and can include large perks and bonuses. Union members are protected against abuses by a bill of rights that includes guarantees of freedom of speech and periodic secret elections. Secondary boycotting and organizational and recognition picketing (i.e., picketing of companies where a rival union is already recognized) are severely restricted by the act. In the field of arbitration, an amendment to the Taft-Hartley Labor Act (1947) written into this 1959 act authorized states to process cases that fall outside the province of the National Labor Relations Board. Organized labor has, in general, opposed the act for strengthening what they consider the antilabor provisions of the Taft-Hartley Labor Act.
A case in point is SEIU, president Andrew Stern, also has reportedly bragged about spending $100 million dollars of union funds to support the Obama campaign, although the SEIU has never registered as a lobby. Members of the SEIU have a right to question where the funds came from.
As I stated in a past post, every bill that is pasted by Congress, the administrative branch responsible under the legislation has a great amount of latitude in the regulations with regard to
writing and administering the legislation. The only way to check on new proposed regulation changes is through the Federal Register and if no one is watching, there is vary little that can be
done to combat how these regulations are changed and administered.
So what happen to the Executive order that Obama signed his first week in office that no administrative employee can work on regulations or contracts involving a previous employer for two years?
Where is the transparency in government that Obama promised the voters during his campaign?
Finally, where is Attorney General Eric Holder and the DOJ or the FBI?