Lead story in today’s Washington Times, “Obama team reverses union transparency“:
The Obama administration, which has boasted about its efforts to make government more transparent, is rolling back rules requiring labor unions and their leaders to report information about their finances and compensation.
The Labor Department noted in a recent disclosure that “it would not be a good use of resources” to bring enforcement actions against union officials who do not comply with conflict of interest reporting rules passed in 2007. Instead, union officials will now be allowed to file older, less detailed conflict reports.
The regulation, known as the LM-30 rule, was at the heart of a lawsuit that the AFL-CIO filed against the department last year.
Indeed, the list of policy recommendations the AFL-CIO made to the Obama transition team included its goal of rolling back LM-30 disclosures as one of its highest priorities for the new Administration. See “AFL-CIO 2008 Transition Project Recommendations for the Obama Administration“:
The Department should immediately stay all financial reporting regulations that have not
yet gone into effect or that have gone into effect but for which the first reporting deadline
has not yet occurred. This includes:
revised LM-30 (effective 2008; first report due March 2009);
revised LM-2 (anticipated effective date December 2008; first report due until
LM-3 revocation procedures (anticipated effective date December 2008; first
report due until March 2010).
The stay should occur through an interim rule. Shortly thereafter, the Department should
issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on whether to rescind all of
these regulations, with a view toward recission.
The Times notes that one of the AFL-CIO attorneys in the LM-30 litigation, Deborah Greenfield, is now a high-ranking deputy at Labor and was an Obama transition team member. As we noted in December in this post, the Wall Street Journal reported that Greenfield’s first stop at DOL for the transition team was to the Office of Labor Management Standards.
Labor has already put the kibosh on an expanded LM-2 report, as well, delaying until October a proposal to beef up the disclosure requirements in annual reports unions must file. (To which Associated Builders and Contractors objected strenuously.)