Obama's allies in organized labor receive far more foreign money than the Chamber
With its baseless charge that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is using foreign money to influence the November elections, the Obama administration and its liberal allies have opened up a can of worms they may come to regret.
Is any foreign money being used to fund the SEIU's anti-Republican campaign efforts? According to the Wall Street Journal, "The Service Employees International Union, one of the nation's fastest-growing labor unions, acknowledges that it can't be certain that foreign nationals haven't contributed to its $44 million political budget to support pro-labor Democrats." The SEIU is not the only union that takes in money from foreign members. According to the Canadian Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers has 280,000 Canadian members; the United Food and Commercial Workers has more than 245,000; the Teamsters has more than 108,000; the Laborers' International Union of North America has more than 68,000; and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has more than 57,000. How much do these foreign union members send to the United States? If the constitutions of their unions are anything like SEIU's, it could be tens of millions of dollars. Is any of that money being used to help elect Democrats this November?
Unions have another source of foreign cash: dues from illegal immigrants. In an April 2007 speech, uncovered by the conservative Web site RedState, SEIU Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina boasts how his union's rolls are loaded with illegal immigrants. Medina declares proudly: "SEIU is the largest union of immigrant workers in the country, and a number of them are undocumented. But let me hasten to add, these are not just Latinos. In our membership are Eastern Europeans, Irish, Polish, Indians, Chinese -- the whole world is represented among the undocumented and also in our membership. We also represent American-born workers, legal residents."
They "also" represent legal residents? Exactly how many illegal workers are on the rolls of the SEIU and other trade unions? Do the unions track which of their members are here illegally? How much do these illegal workers contribute to union coffers each year? And is any of this money being used to fund union efforts to elect Democrats this November?
Some may argue that raising such questions is unfair. But it was the president of the United States who opened the door to this line of inquiry. Obama recently said of the Chamber, "Groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections." Well Obama's allies in organized labor receive far more foreign money than the Chamber and are spending huge sums to influence American elections. They have boasted of having illegal foreign workers on their rolls and have admitted that they cannot be certain money from foreign nationals has not been used in their campaigns efforts against Republican candidates.
Now it's time for the Democrats to start answering the same charges that they leveled against the Chamber and American Crossroads with such abandon. Is organized labor using foreign money to elect Democrats this November? To paraphrase the president, they could be -- we just don't know. But if Republicans win two weeks from now, and take control of the investigative committees of Congress, we may soon find out. (See full story here at WaPo)