National Right to Work Foundation attorneys today hand delivered an emergency request to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Nov. 16 asking for a federal court injunction to halt rampant document destruction by America Coming Together (ACT) staff. This occurred just as the Foundation’s vice president, Stefan Gleason, filed a formal complaint into ACT’s funding.
Filed Nov. 10 on behalf of employees, the complaint alleges SEIU union officials handed over tens of millions of dollars of workers’ forced union dues through a so-called “527″ political organization called America Coming Together (ACT). Some of those funds were, in turn, spent illegally to finance political campaigns through the Democrat National Committee (DNC).
Jeffery A. Williams, police officer and President of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25 in Orlando, Florida, supplied Foundation attorneys with photos and a sworn statement. The photos reveal numerous bags of newly shredded documents at an ACT office after allegations surfaced that tens of millions of dollars of the group’s funding came unlawfully in the form of workers’ union dues. It is suspected that similar shredding is occurring at numerous ACT offices across America. Foundation attorneys called on the FEC to obtain immediately an injunction from a U.S. District Court to prevent ACT from destroying any potentially relevant evidence to an FEC investigation.
The FEC complaint cites numerous statements by SEIU head Andrew Stern about the use of workers’ forced union dues to fund ACT. Stern stated earlier this month “that SEIU is the largest contributor to America Coming Together at $26 million.” ACT spent over $100 million dollars in this fall’s elections on the campaigns of candidates a large portion of union members do not support.
ACT then used some of those funds to underwrite political fundraisers for the DNC. For example, artwork fundraising events held by ACT across America raised more than $750,000 for the DNC where attendees were given expensive artwork prints in exchange for individual donations of at least $1,000. Meanwhile, in statements made to the press earlier this year, Stern openly bragged that SEIU officials intended to give funds paid by “regular dues-paying members” to ACT political activities.
Under federal law, union officials specifically must not contribute to political campaigns using “dues, fees or other moneys required as a condition of membership in a labor organization.” In doing so, states the complaint, SEIU union officials violated the rights of workers who are required, as a condition of employment, to make forced-dues payments to the union who may not agree with the political aims of SEIU officials, ACT or the DNC.
“SEIU officials used the hard-earned wages of rank-and-file workers to bankroll the campaigns of hundreds of political candidates across America,” stated Gleason. “No one should be forced to pay compulsory dues to a union, especially when its officials continually abuse that government-granted special privilege.” [NRTWF, 11/16/04]