Dems finally ready to cut government office
No, not defense spending. From Opinion Journal:
The new Democratic Congress has finally found a government agency whose budget It wants to cut: an obscure Labor Department office that monitors the compliance of unions with federal law.
In the past six years, the Office of Labor Management Standards, or OLMS, has helped secure the convictions of 775 corrupt union officials and court-ordered restitution to union members of over $70 million in dues. The House is set to vote Thursday on a proposal to chop 20% from the OLMS budget. Every other Labor Department enforcement agency is due for a budget increase, and overall the Congress has added $935 million to the Bush administration's budget request for Labor. The only office the Democrats want to cut back is the one engaged in union oversight.
OLMS, the Labor office that watches over union disclosure forms, says that last year 93% of unions met its reporting requirements. But the other 7% deserve scrutiny. Union members deserve to know how their dues are spent. They might want to know that in 2005, the National Education Association gave more than $65 million to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and dozens of other liberal advocacy groups that have nothing to do with the interests of teachers. In 2006, 49 individuals employed at the national AFL-CIO headquarters were paid more than $130,000. "Union members are also discovering the extent to which their dues money is funding lavish trips for union officials to luxury resorts and other expensive perks unrelated to collective bargaining," says Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.
Investigations conducted by OLMS also have led to an impressive list of successful prosecutions of union officials. Just last week Willie Haynes, a member of the Saginaw, Mich., City Council who also served as a United Auto Workers financial secretary, pleaded guilty to falsifying his union local's reports. In May, Chuck Crawley, a former Teamster's local president in Houston, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for stuffing a ballot box so he could be elected president of his union local and embezzling dues money.
...Union officials have publicly stated that they believe many of OLMS's requirements are burdensome and unnecessary. Since unions helped elect the current Congress, they are now seeking action on their agenda, which ranges from holding fewer secret ballot elections to cutting back on the oversight that is at the heart of the 1959 union "bill of rights" that JFK championed.
Once again, the Dems have their dirty little hands in the "culture of corruption" cookie jar.