This week, former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra came under fire from U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) for his financial entanglements with powerful teachers’ unions like the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT).
According to state campaign records the CTA gave $29,200 to elect Becerra from 2017 to 2019, while CFT gave $22,400 over the same time period.
And now Biden has nominated Becerra to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
“President Biden’s HHS nominee, Xavier Becerra, accepted more than $50,000 from the California teacher’s unions,” Cotton noted. “As HHS Secretary, Becerra would weaponize the CDC to keep our schools closed and our children falling further behind. He must be stopped.”
That’s exactly what the White House was missing – more California politics.
So what does Becerra bring to the table as the HHS secretary? What’s his background?
“Xavier Becerra’s only healthcare experience is enforcing California’s lockdowns that shuttered playgrounds, crushed small businesses and kept schools closed,” Cotton said. “Under Becerra’s leadership, California has had one of the worst responses to COVID in the country.”
Working in his favor, however, Becerra is beloved by organized labor for his loose interpretation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME affirming the right of public employees to opt out of union membership and dues and still keep their jobs.
Becerra was also the subject if a 2019 Freedom Foundation lawsuit, Mendez. V. California Teachers Association, accused the union and the state of California of continuing to deduct dues from the paychecks of public employees who had clearly indicated their wish to opt out.
Becerra, in his role as attorney general, should have been looking out for the people of California, not the special interests that bankroll his political career.
Mendez v. CTA is currently under consideration by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Meanwhile, the Freedom Foundation just this week asked the Supreme Court to hear a Belgau v. Inslee, a case that could further strengthen the rights of public employees by case making it easier to enforce Janus.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that elected officials on the West Coast have little interest in going against their union handlers. If we want to see change that protects public employees First Amendment rights, we have to do it ourselves.