When union leaders are caught red-handed trying to conceal the extent of their political activity from the public, campaign finance officials and their own dues-paying members, their response typically depends on the size of their liability.
When there’s relatively little involved — and by union standards, that could mean anything up to a few hundred thousand dollars — the preferred strategy is to throw money at the problem.
After all, it isn’t coming out of their pockets. It comes out of the members’ dues, and there’s a nearly inexhaustible supply of that.
Even better, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is a reliably compliant stooge who can always be counted on to approve settlement agreements in which the unions get away with paying pennies on the dollar.
But when the stakes are bigger, they resort to a different tactic — stonewalling.
And based on the number of frivolous motions filed by the unions’ team of pettifogging attorneys in an ongoing campaign finance lawsuit originally filed in January 2018 by the Freedom Foundation against SEIU 775, they must be hiding plenty.
On May 2, the Washington State Court of Appeals denied the union’s motion to dismiss, meaning the case — which involves SEIU 775’s laughable claim that it isn’t a political action committee and therefore not subject to the financial reporting standards of a PAC — can proceed.
The excruciating details of its motion and the underlying case are fairly standard stuff; the Freedom Foundation has filed dozens of such complaints against a variety of labor organizations in recent years, prevailing more often than not.
The real takeaway is the message sent to the union that the Freedom Foundation won’t be deterred in its mission to ensure it plays by the rules.
Again, when there are too many dollars at stake to settle, a union’s slippery scheme of choice is to play footsie with its adversaries knowing few private citizens can match the financial resources available to a group like SEIU 775.
Until last summer, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling banning mandatory dues and fees in the public workplace, unions essentially had carte blanche to pick the pockets of hundreds of thousands of government employees.
Much of the confiscated dues money was used to line the pockets of duplicitous politicians, but there’s enough still enough left to pay attorneys millions of dollars to delay — and, all too often, deny — justice.
Lawsuits filed by private individuals against labor unions forced into an uphill battle in order to succeed — not because they’re without merit, but because the unions know they can bury the courts under a blizzard of motions, countermotions and specious claims until the plaintiff runs out of money or resolve.
That doesn’t happen with the Freedom Foundation.
When we sit down across the table from a foe like SEIU 775, the game continues until the final card has been played.