America’s largest union, the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) is a common utterance within the White House and will be a major player at the December jobs summit. In 2008 they gave almost $30 million to Obama’s campaign. SEIU President Andy Stern is the most frequent visitor to the White House according to their visitors’ log. Anna Burger, Treasurer of the SEIU and Chairwoman of their Change to Win campaign has even been appointed to Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and is scheduled to attend the December jobs summit at the White House.
The problem; until 2007, both Stern and Burger were registered lobbyists until they terminated their status, yet their job duties or descriptions have not changed. This plus other evidence appears to indicate that both are continuing to lobby without registering and thus are violating federal law (and Obama’s campaign promises).
Today, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and the Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) formally requested an investigation by the acting United States Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Esq., into the potentially illegal lobbying activities of the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Treasurer and Change to Win Chairwoman Anna Burger.
The groups filled their first lobbying investigation request with the US Attorney’s office and key Congressional offices on November 13th against SEIU President Andy Stern. The Secretary of the U.S. Senate, Nancy Erickson, has notified Andy Stern of the groups’ complaint and a response from SEIU has yet to be seen.
In their most recent effort, ATR & AWF claim the SEIU’s LM-2 mandatory financial disclosure forms filled with the Department of Labor seem to indicate otherwise. A letter delivered today and available on their websites, ATR President Grover Norquist and AWF Executive Director Brian Johnson wrote:
LM-2 forms from 2007 and 2006, both years when Ms. Burger was a registered lobbyist, reveal that she spent well over 20 percent of her time on politics and lobbying. Yet after de-listing, Burger reported spending an even larger amount of her time, 37 percent, on politics and lobbying activity.
“Given her role as the head of the Change to Win Federation, her senior position with SEIU, and her appointment to Obama’s Economic Recovery board, Burger is almost certain to have had enough contact with covered officials during relevant reporting periods to cause her to legally have to re-register,” said Norquist. “Now, she is heading to the White House to participate in a jobs summit. I guess one way Obama can still work with lobbyists is to just have them not follow the same rules as everyone else – seems like politics as usual,” Johnson added.
Burger’s contacts, combined with the LM-2 fillings, make it highly likely that she engaged in lobbying as defined by the LDA during the time she was not listed as a lobbyist.