Are You Still Looking? Stop Scrutinizing, Already!

By August 29, 2007Labor Unions

As noted below (in this post), the House has already cut the budget for the Office of Labor and Management Standards, the part of the U.S. Department of Labor charged with oversight of spending — and misspending — by the labor unions. The OLMS received special attention in the appropriations process from partisans who seemed to think the office had already committed quite enough oversight, thank you.

So even at the risk of repeating ourselves, this is an informative and punchy op-ed by Ed Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation, on the topic. It appeared in Tuesday’s Indianapolis Star, highlighting an obvious inconsistency of the OLMS’s critics.

Take the onerous accounting standards now imposed on companies under the Sarbanes-Oxley law. Businesses must file detailed quarterly reports with federal regulators, and the CEO must personally certify his company’s bottom line each year.

Meanwhile, unions must file financial statements only once a year, don’t have to have their audit certified and are rarely investigated by the government. That doesn’t stop them from complaining, of course. As Labor Secretary Elaine Chao points out, the AFL-CIO claimed that it would have to spend “more than $1 million” to comply with OLMS’s reasonable terms. “In fact,” Chao points out, “filling out the new disclosure form cost the AFL-CIO $54,150.” Quite a difference.

Unions control some $22 billion, a staggering amount of money. All of it comes from their members. These workers deserve to know what union leaders spend their hard-earned money on — whether it’s the $65 million the National Education Association gave Jesse Jackson’s liberal pressure group in 2005 or the $130,000 salaries earned by 49 union leaders at AFL-CIO headquarters last year.

Transparency for thee, but not for me?

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