Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

ACORN Bleeding SEIU Members’ Money

We’ve told you before about the anti-corporate group ACORN’s windfall relationship with union bosses. Labor leaders like to fund the group to help the cause by, say, attacking a corporation in the unions’ crosshairs, training union organizers, or employing criminals who engage in voter registration fraud. Thus the shady ACORN makes millions from honest union members’ paychecks. But what happens when ACORN essentially runs two major SEIU unions?

According to the most recent Department of Labor financial disclosures, the ACORN-founded SEIU Local 880 in Illinois:

  • Paid $191,820 in fees and expenses to Citizens Consulting, Inc. in New Orleans, a legal and lobbying firm run by ACORN founder Wade Rathke
  • Paid another $31,745 to “CCI Legal”
  • Paid $92,006 to “ILLINOIS ACORN WNB”
  • Sent $181,366 to the Chicago Organizing Support Center (another stone in the ACORN pyramid)

And, of course, don’t forget the $5,894 to the “Chief Organizer Fund” at ACORN’s office (Rathke is ACORN’s Chief Organizer). Remember, this is union member money being sent to ACORN, which founded and influences the union.

Then there’s SEIU Local 100, which has been personally run by Rathke for years. Despite membership declining by 33 percent since 2004, Local 100 keeps pumping money into other Rathke endeavors. Their 2006 financial filings show:

  • $5,670 paid to Citizens Consulting, Inc
  • $71,899 in “gifts” given to the Service Workers Action Team (described as a political action committee and housed, of course, at ACORN’s New Orleans office)
  • Accounts payable totaling $138,516 to other Rathke entities

Shuffling union member money back and forth between Rathke and ACORN entities is nothing new. Last year’s financial disclosure for Local 880 showed:

  • A loan receivable from Local 100, which started the year at $11,500 and ended the year at only $500 – a note shows the loan wasn’t repaid in cash, but rather “reduced to in-kind service”
  • 880 received $36,425 as a “contractual fee” from the L880 Political Action Committee
  • Representational activities included: $6,388 in non-itemized payments to the Chief Organizer Fund and $66,870 in non-itemized payments to Citizens Consulting
  • “Gifts” totaling $151,694 to the L880 Political Action Committee
  • $177,430 paid to Citizens Consulting for “Accounting and Administrative Support” and non-itemized transactions for “General Overhead”
  • $10,102 paid to Citizens Consulting for “Union Administration”

That’s a total of $459,909 in intra-ACORN transactions in 2005 alone.

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