The Associated Press has unearthed troubling political goings-on in Ohio, where Governor ted Strickland apparently bent over backwards to accommodate his political backers from the Service Employees International Union. The AP reports:
SEIU donated $90,000 to Strickland’s gubernatorial campaign last year, a portion of the $2 million it has given statewide to Democratic party committees and candidates since last year, campaign finance records show. AFSCME has given just more than $76,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since last year, including about $6,000 to Strickland’s campaign from its political action committee and executives.
In the e-mails, dealings between the unions and the administration appeared cozy. Strickland took office in January, marking the first time in 16 years that Democrats, historically pro-union, have controlled the governor’s office.
In one of the governor’s office e-mails, Kristen Rankin, the state’s chief labor lawyer, provided the governor’s two main lawyers, Kent Markus and Kimberly Cocroft, with a lengthy rundown of SEIU’s plans for organizing various categories of home health workers once the order was in place.
In an e-mail exchange later the same day, Cocroft told Medicaid Director Cristal Thomas that language had been added to the draft order giving unions a chance at organizing additional state workers as program definitions changed. She said SEIU “specifically asked” for the language and the governor’s office had accommodated.
But, the governor’s flack notes, the union didn’t get everything it wanted:
Apparently the union not only wanted to add a bunch of members through a dubious political payoff, they wanted to force everyone to become a member. Classy.