Brooklyn DA Investigating Forced-Politicking Charges Against Union

Brooklyn Dist. Attny. Charles Hynes has apparently picked up the ball that Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau dropped, starting an investigation of charges that NYC workers were forced to work for a mayoral candidate backed by their union.

Several members of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees Intl. Union (SEIU) told a Manhattan grand jury earlier this year that they were threatened with reprimands unless they worked for democrat mayoral candidate Mark Green during the 2001 primary campaign.  They reportedly did so on their own work time, were also forced to use personal leave on campaign work, and were forced to contribute to Green, all of which would violate NYC election law.

In June, Morgenthau agreed not to prosecute local officials in exchange for the appointment of an outside election-law expert who, some union officials claimed would have power to stop any future violations, while others said the expert would only be a monitor and adviser to the hierarchy.  Brooklyn D.A. Hynes is now investigating the case, which now includes a $16,000 payment by the Green campaign to 32BJ in Nov. 2001, after Morgenthau subpoenaed the union’s records of its work on Green’s campaign.

The New York Post reports that Brooklyn prosecutors are complaining that Morgenthau has refused to share information and documents about his now-concluded investigation with them. [New York Post, 8/28/03]