In an effort to control the growing deficit, President Obama has called for the creation of a “Debt Panel.” Inappropriately, but not surprisingly, the White House selected Service Employee International Union President (SEIU) Andy Stern to sit on the 18-member committee. Investors Business Daily, also confused by Stern’s appointment, wrote:

“The appointment of Andy Stern, president of the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), to a bipartisan commission to come up with ways to deal with the rapidly rising federal budget deficit is like having a serial arsonist organize Fire Prevention Week.”

Prematurely revealing his hand, Stern told Congress last week what he thought about deficits:

"As (New York Times columnist) Paul Krugman says, and I believe, ‘We are in the aftermath of a severe financial crisis which has led to mass job destruction. And right now we need more of that deficit spending because millions of Americans are blighted by high unemployment, and the government should be doing everything it can to bring unemployment down.’"

Mr. Stern shows little concern for the objectives of the “Debt Panel,” to reduce the deficit. So how did Andy Stern sneak onto this committee? The President and Andy Stern go way back. In fact, when the White House released its visitor logs last October, he was found to be the most frequent guest, popping in 22 times. You would think that after Stern’s seemingly unfettered access to the White House he would need to register as a lobbyist or risk violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act. Think again. Stern suspiciously deregistered as a lobbyist in 2007.

On November 13, 2009 the Alliance for Worker Freedom and Americans for Tax Reform requested an investigation into Andy Stern’s potential violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act. A brief summary of what has happened since then:

Nov. 16, SEIU spokesperson Michelle Ringuette acknowledged the validity of claim and, without offering evidence responded: “Andy Stern spends less than 20 percent of his time talking to elected representatives.”

Jan 5 Andy Stern told Carol Costello in a one-on-one interview on CNN: “We’re going to send them a letter and tell them the truth, which is we’ve complied with the law. And we assume whenever the investigation is done it will be fine.”

Jan 25, SEIU spokesperson Kawana Lloyd contradicted what Mr. Stern had said on CNN, saying: “SEIU had likely said all it would say on the matter.”

Feb 1, the US Attorney’s office confirmed to that they are “reviewing the matter.” Ms. Ringuette retorted: “The charges were meritless; we have been informed by the Senate that the complaining parties were notified.”

Despite being promised vindicating documents, neither ATR nor AWF has received any information from Andy Stern or the SEIU refuting our claims. With the charges levied against Mr. Stern being reviewed by the US Attorney’s office, AWF sent a letter to the White House Counsel Robert Bauer asking if it was appropriate for Mr. Stern to sit on the Debt Panel. AWF also sent a letter to the Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson and US Attorney Channing D. Phillips requesting additional information about the status of the investigation. 

Given Mr. Stern’s inflexible liberal ideology and his precarious lobbying activities, his appointment to the debt panel is completely inappropriate.