Union Dough and Bribery

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This is where internal corruption meets external corruption.  These unions have millions in union dues to play with and exploit, and they use it to full advantage.  In fact, that was one of the original purposes of the unions for Democrats – Democrats allowed unions to form in violation of basic anti-trust principles so that the unions could be used as political organizations to support them.

Is there any question that in paying off politicians with the cash of their constituents, unions border on violation of 18 USC Sec. 201(b), penalizing anyone who “directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official … with intent – to influence any official act …”?  These aren’t union members finding their friendliest candidates and raising moolah for them – it’s union heads parlaying directly with politicians and trading support for favors.

In condemning unions in this manner, we border on John McCain-esque critiques of money in politics.  In suggesting that unions give cash as soft bribes, we seem to make the case that money has no place in politics, and that campaign finance reform is a necessary and just objective.

It is not.  There are two answers to the problem of legalized political bribery.  The first answer is narrow: destroy unions’ anti-trust exemptions.  If unions are forced to allow competition in the labor marketplace, unions will no longer be able to use their union dues without regard to union members.  Since unions are the main purveyors of the direct political kickback, such bribery will largely wither on the vine.

But it will not die unless big government dies first.  As long as government remains an enormous grab bag of cash, waiting for the first paid-off politician willing to “make it rain” for his patron, soft bribery will remain the rule rather than the exception.  Limited government prevents any corporation or union from treating government as a feeding trough – there’s no slop in the trough in the first place.

Unfortunately, no matter how often Democrats realize that they must sometimes disappoint their union sponsors in tough economic times, they will always find a way to renew their vows when the ledger turns from red to black again.  Unless the American people and their elected representatives hold true to Constitutional principles for the long haul, America will always play the see-saw game of bribery and corruption, bankruptcy and austerity, then back again.

Ben Shapiro is an attorney and writer and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, and author of the upcoming book “Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How The Left Took Over Your TV” from Broadside Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.

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  • Cuban Refugee

    What a cozy "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" relationship there is between union thugs and politicians! The original intent in the forming of unions has been lost in the muck of corruption, the creeping, increasingly blatant communism, and mountains of union dues squandered to line the filthy pockets of criminals who craft our laws. We have already seen ugly shades of our future during recent demonstrations in the United States and abroad: union members will be sent out like hypnotized foot soldiers for their fat, powerful, rich union bosses to channel the brownshirts who will keep fascists in power. To quote Andy Stern, "Workers of the world unite — it's not just a slogan anymore."

  • StephenD

    I happen to know Bobby DeLeo from Massachusetts. I'd have you look at his home town of Revere. In a town less than 4 sq. miles you have a little less than 100K people. They have a school system with less than 10 schools. Teachers work about 180 days. A Superintendent worth nearly $200,000 and an Assistant Supt. worth nearly as much; Teachers that are paid $99,000 for those 180 days, 3rd year police officers getting $103,000 PLUS detail pay. The list goes on and on. I likened this to the frogs placed in a cool pot with the heat being turned up little by little until they are eventually boiled without ever trying to leap out. The taxpayers of this little town are forever getting increases in their rates and receiving less services. The streets are decaying, bridges crumbling, etc. All so the public union folks can get more and more. I am glad this is being exposed. I am glad I no longer live there. I am sad for those that have to pay the way for this corruption. We are asked to "Support the middle class (unions)." But I ask, which middle class should we support, the one paying the bill or the one asking for more? Enough is enough!

  • bill

    While I agree with this article, it's not the end of the corruption story in government due to bribery. Just look at the income tax code – totally inscrutable, and it sends companies and jobs overseas. It's that way due to campaign contributions by lobbyists hired by companies to give them an 'edge' against their competitors. That's the reason for the corporate tax; it gives the Congressmen and Senators something to trade in return for campaign cash. Businesses don't "pay" taxes; their customers do. Then those tax costs are embedded in prices. Bye, bye, U.S. jobs!

  • Spider

    First Unios destroyed the industries that made our country wealthy and great by rendering them un-competitive. For example the steel, electronics, appliance, computer and hundreds of other industries including 50% of the auto industry were all rendered un-competitive and either moved overseas or went out of business – all the jobs they created also went away. Now the same Unions are bankrupting all of our States and Municipalities. Now we not only have pay the Unions exorbident wages and retirements with our lower wages we also pay for the social services for the millions of people they have un-employed over the years How did this happen ?

  • Abe F

    Like the corporate money isin’t buying politicians? Get real

  • Amused

    How did it happen ? Your politicians in Washington , make laws and trade policy ,. based on who 'contributes to their coffers. You are naive if you think Unions alone are responsible for the present situation , but being a Repo-con , you will undoubtably pick out scapegoats , and turn the other way on corruption in your own political party and corruption , malfeasance and avarice on the part of big corporations . Btw , that's called HYPOCRISY one of the Repo-Cons stronger points .

  • http://www.hotexchangerates.com/ exchangerates

    Unions, unfortunately, while initiated for collective bargaining by the underpaid, overworked many, many years ago, have now become the Original Gangsters. They have done more damage to this country than the Mafia. They need to go the way of the brontosaurus.