Political operatives in the Department of Labor are using federal reporting requirements to undermine trade unions and conduct a “political misinformation campaign” against them, a report released yesterday charges.
While the Bush administration has generally relaxed federal regulations, the department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards has done the reverse, beefing up disclosure rules, staff and investigations of union leaders and members, the study by the left-leaning Center for American Progress said.
The study criticized the reporting requirements as designed to overwhelm unions with paperwork and trick them into noncompliance. It also accused the office of inflating the number of criminal cases involving union leaders and members.
the office’s latest requirement, new conflict-of-interest reports that, as of Jan. 1, would require a broad pool of union members to attest that even their car loans do not constitute a potential conflict.
The standards office has been led since 2005 by Don Todd, a former Republican National Committee strategist. Todd is credited with helping George H.W. Bush win the presidency in 1988 by convincing Lee Atwater to use a television ad featuring furloughed murderer Willie Horton and portraying Bush’s Democratic challenger as soft on crime.
Republican adviser Grover Norquist has said that “every dollar that is spent on disclosure and reporting is a dollar that can’t be spent on other labor union activities.”