Agreed, the Head of the SEIU is a Powerful Lobbyist, Except …

By June 17, 2010General, Labor Unions

The Hill newspaper today carries a special feature, “2010 Top Lobbyists,” the kind of list journalism that’s fun and draws a lot of attention. No knock here.

Although we note the inclusion of Mary Kay Henry, the new president of the Service Employees International Union, the SEIU:

Mary Kay Henry, Service Employees International Union. The new president of the politically powerful union will play a pivotal role in the debate over comprehensive immigration reform and getting out the Democratic vote in midterm elections.

But she’s not a registered lobbyist and hasn’t been one since 2006, according to House lobbying disclosure forms.

The Senate disclosures show the same — not a registered lobbyist since 2006.

The Hill’s inclusion of Henry must just be a recognition of her prospective lobbying clout. The paper did a feature on Henry after her surprise election in May, “Powerful SEIU elects first woman president, successor to Stern,” and the union’s political influence is BIG. Excerpt:

SEIU has the biggest political action committee among labor unions, with close to $11.8 million in cash on hand by the end of 2009, according to Federal Election Commission records. In addition, it spent more than $58 million on its political and lobbying activities in 2009, working with groups as varied as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America to the National Gay Lesbian Task Force, according to financial disclosure records filed with the Labor Department.

Come to think of it, her predecessor as SEIU president, Andy Stern, wasn’t a registered lobbyist either. The omission caused a ruckus because of his obvious advocacy, clout and political access — being the most frequent outside visitor to the White House, for example.

Does the  SEIU have a “carve out” from the lobbying disclosure laws no one knows about?

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