On his first day in office President Obama signed a strict executive order closing some ethics loopholes, part of which tried to close the revolving door between government employees and former and future employers in the private sector. Part of that executive order said that no political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years.
Apparently that rule does not apply when the political appointee used to work for the SEIU. Craig Becker, who left the SEIU to become Obama’s recess NLRB appointee, has rejected requests to recluse himself from pending cases involving his former employer.
Earlier this summer, attorneys for the The National Right to Work Foundation filed more than a dozen motions asking Becker recluse himself from cases involving his old employee the SEIU and AFL-CIO As the SEIU’s in-house lawyer, Becker’s job at the SEIU was to litigate against Right to Work Foundation clients and he developed legal strategies for SEIU local affiliates across the country. Becker’s published writings indicate that he has strong level of hostility to the Foundation’s employee-oriented legal aid program.
Foundation attorneys asked Becker to step aside from any case involving Foundation-assisted workers, the SEIU, or its subordinate affiliates. Despite these apparent conflicts of interest, Becker has refused to recuse himself in every case but one. (for the specifics of Becker’s refusal and why his rationale is nonsense click here)
The Foundation has sent a letter to Attorney General
Stedman Graham Eric Holder asking him to investigate Becker.
Only the Attorney General or his appropriate designee has the authority under the Executive Order to investigate any violations of the Obama Administration ethics pledge, which Becker signed. The pledge explicitly forbids any appointee from involving themselves with a former employer for no less than two years.
Becker argues that he may participate in cases involving SEIU affiliates because the national and local unions are “separate and distinct legal entit[ies].” The SEIU’s own constitution, however, considers local affiliates “constituent subordinate bodies” of the national union. Moreover, in 2009 over 85 percent of the SEIU’s receipts came from a per capita tax on the locals’ membership dues and fees. The national union even has the power to assume control over its locals if they do not conform to International policies.
The Foundation’s letter to Holder also notes Becker’s close involvement in the SEIU’s national legal strategy for corralling healthcare workers into unions. Wade Rathke, a former SEIU local union boss and founder of ACORN, praised Becker’s work in this field. As Rathke explained, Becker’s “role was often behind the scenes devising the strategy with the organizers and lawyers, writing the briefs for others to file, and putting all of the pieces together.” Becker’s “separate legal entity” analysis fails to account for this kind of relationship that actually exists between the SEIU and its local affiliates.
In the United States we are supposed to believe that all men are created equal and have equal protection under the law. Since the Progressives took over Congress and Barack Obama was elected President, unions are more equal and get greater protection the rest of us. That’s why the UAW was able to get the largest share of the GM and Chrysler even though legally it should have been the primary investors, why union labor. That’s also why The President’s executive order, known as the “High Road Contracting Policy” cuts the 85% of construction companies that are non-union shops out of the $500 billion dollar market of Federal construction Jobs. This move not only further depresses the Construction industry, but raises the cost of Federal construction projects between 10-20% increasing the federal deficit.
Craig Becker’s refusal to recluse himself and follow Obama’s ethics rules is just one more example of the sense of entitlement given to unions in this progressive federal government that runs our lives. There are two sets of rules, one for Union Leaders, the other for the rest of America.