(Warner Todd Huston) – Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and the Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) have formally requested that acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips launch an investigation into the possibly illegal lobbying activities of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern.
When news came out not long ago that union President Stern was the most common White House visitor, ATR and AWF began to look into his visits to the White House and what it was he was doing there. Quite a few interesting things turned up as President Stern’s activities were investigated.
As the ATR and AFW told the U.S. Attorney:
By this letter, we urge you to investigate the activities of Mr. Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), regarding meetings and other lobbying contacts with administration, White House and Congress during 2009. Specifically, it is important to determine whether those and related activities could constitute unregistered “lobbying” by Mr. Stern in violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), 2 U.S.C. 1601, et seq. In fact, Mr. Stern was a registered lobbyist for SEIU until January of 2007 when he terminated his registration. For the reasons discussed below it appears that Mr. Stern continued to lobby extensively after he terminated his registered status, and in 2009 devoted so much time on lobbying and related activities that he should have re-registered as a lobbyist under LDA.
ATR and AFW recorded some of Stern’s Twitter posts and claim that these seem to state rather obviously that the union chief was indulging in lobbying the White House despite that he is not legally registered as a lobbyist.
“Lobbying with Mayor Bloomberg on health care. Leaving Senator Snowe. Mayor big proponent of keeping people healthy and the right public plan”
“Great discussion last 2 days with many Senators. Complicated issue but commitment to change. All understand-longer we wait worse it gets”
“At Springsteen Concert. Lots of fundraisers in box. Good free choice meetings with key Senators today “
“Great White House meeting with serious, real discussion on cost savings. June 1 deadline for real results. Glad we could get this started.”
“Leaving White House. Serious , real discussion with great possibilities. Now work to be done by June 1 deadline. Glad we get start this.”
“At White House for meeting with President on Health care.”
“Congressman Sestak impressive on CNN. Visiting him tomorrow.”
“Specter, Sebelius, Washington Capitols, and 100 great days. On a roll Now let’s fire Ken Lewis at B of A today to keep a great week going”
“just left White House where group from MoveOn to Chamber of Commerce but mostly progressives had cocktails with Prez and VP”
Even by Stern’s own words he was lobbying. Yet he was not legally registered to do so. It seems a pretty clear violation of the law. Will the Obama administration do the right thing here?
(Mr. Huston is the editor of The Union Label blog)