Service Employees International Union Local 775 (“SEIU”) has always conducted itself as though Washington’s campaign finance laws do not apply to it, but now SEIU actually argues this in court. The Freedom Foundation (“Foundation”) filed a lawsuit against SEIU in January alleging SEIU violated campaign finance laws by operating as an unregistered political committee, thus unlawfully concealing its political activity from the public and the Public Disclosure Commission. This is something SEIU has done for years and, to date, has been given a free pass by the politicians SEIU ever-so-conveniently supports with campaign contributions.
At issue is Washington’s Fair Campaign Practices Act (“FCPA”) which empowers a Washington resident who files a complaint with the State outlining FCPA violations to file his or her own lawsuit against the accused (termed a “citizen action”) if the state fails to file a lawsuit of its own. The Foundation followed the FCPA’s requirements by filing a complaint with, among others, the Washington Attorney General (“AG”). Unsurprisingly, the AG, to which SEIU has contributed money, declined to hold SEIU accountable. The Foundation then did what the AG should have done, i.e. file a lawsuit to hold SEIU accountable.
However, politicians in the legislature, as well as Governor Jay Inslee, amended the FCPA to change the hoops someone must jump through to file a citizen action, making it much more difficult for Washington residents to file such an action. Obviously, the Foundation could only satisfy FCPA requirements as they existed when it filed its initial complaint with the AG last year.
SEIU, however, makes the contrary claim that even though the FCPA’s amendments were passed after the Foundation filed its lawsuit and do not take effect until June 7, 2018, the Foundation should have satisfied non-existing FCPA requirements back when it filed its initial complaint in order to maintain a lawsuit based on that initial complaint. SEIU argues that every citizen action not completed before June 7, 2018, when the amendments become law, are null and void.
Let that sink in for a moment.
SEIU is essentially arguing that all previously-existing FCPA complaints and cases are null and void because the legislature changed the requirements for a citizen action ex post facto. Combined with the new, longer waiting periods prescribed by the FCPA, which increase how long someone must wait before he or she brings a citizen action, nearly all previous FCPA violations are now un-prosecutable because the legislature did not likewise extend of the FCPA’s statute of limitations. How convenient for politicians and SEIU.
SEIU recently filed a Motion to Dismiss arguing this before a court.
Three things are true if SEIU prevails:
First, SEIU again escapes accountability for its apparent unlawful conduct.
Second, by passing the new FCPA amendments, Washington legislators pardoned themselves from past campaign finance law violations. This realization is sickening. Sitting legislators had over 100 FCPA complaints filed against them at the time they voted to pass the amendments. The self-serving nature of the legislature’s amendments is bad enough even if they do not apply retroactively. But retroactive application of the amendments, which passed with bipartisan support, would make every legislator who supported it the worst kind of hypocrite.
Third, guilty FCPA violation verdicts from citizen actions which are on appeal must be thrown out because they were not completed before the amendments take effect. This means many individuals and politicians already convicted of FCPA violations will not be held accountable.
The amendments to the citizen action provision in the FCPA constituted a blatant (successful) attempt by politicians to gut the ability of Washington residents to enforce the FCPA when those politicians refuse to hold themselves accountable. SEIU’s retroactive application of the amendments favors the richest and most powerful in Washington at the expense of those with neither the money nor the power possessed by special interests such as SEIU.
Government bureaucracies and their favored unions thrive on secrecy. SEIU’s argument here once again institutionalizes the secrecy necessary for the government corruption in which SEIU participates.
Those who control SEIU fight to bring about a world in which power resides only in compulsory collectives such as bureaucratic government agencies and government-favored unions propped up by the force of law. The winners in such a world are those who run these collectives, not the individuals forced by law to associate with them.
SEIU’s grand design for the future requires political power to force its creation and maintenance. It is no surprise that SEIU despises any policy which limits government power, for it is that government power SEIU finds necessary to enforce its vision on the rest of us.
There is no room for individual liberty in SEIU’s desired world. All individuals must yield to the collective “for their own good.”
Pardon me if I think it is blatantly obvious no one running SEIU ever took a course on 20th century history. Or perhaps the scarier thought is that they have…