Political Money Monitor
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Amy Moritz Ridenour, President
501 Capitol Ct., N.E. * Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 543-4110 * Fax (202) 543-5975
E-Mail: [email protected]
On June 3, the White House's National Partnership for Reinventing Government awarded the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) its "Hammer Award" for the agency's innovation in handling its workload. The same day, however, the NLRB was sued for not taking any action in six years on a case involving the use of union dues to fund political activity without member permission.
David and Sherry Pirlott's suit against Teamsters Local 75 in Green Bay, Wisconsin was filed more than nine years ago by the National Right to Work Legal Foundation, and is just one of more than 100 cases involving union members trying to exercise their constitutional right to reclaim union dues spent for political activity. In the case of the Pirlotts, NLRB action stopped shortly after President Bill Clinton took office in 1992.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason said, "Since no other class of cases has been singled out for delay, it's clear that the Clinton/Gore NLRB is deliberately protecting Big Labor's ability to seize compulsory union dues for political activities." This charge was seconded by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which noted in an opinion that the NLRB "stand[s] out as a federal administrative agency which has been rebuked before for what must strike anyone as a cavalier disdain for the hardship it is causing."
Ironically, in his congratulatory letter to NLRB General Counsel Fred
Feinstein, Vice President Al Gore wrote, "Your successes in improving
the enforcement of the law... have made an important difference to the working
man and women of this country."
David Schippers, the former chief counsel of the House Judiciary Committee during impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton, being interviewed by Bill O'Reilly on the Fox News Channel on July 28, said the Justice Department's suppressed report on 1996 campaign finance irregularities "went beyond money matters... there were other repercussions of the campaign funds donated by various individuals and entities" that point to donations being used to buy influence in the Clinton White House.
Schippers asserted, "There was evidence in there which, in my opinion, certainly should have required the appointment of a special prosecutor."
Schippers is one of the few people to actually read the full text of former Justice Department investigator Charles LaBella's exhaustive report on potential unethical and criminal conduct in raising funds for the 1996 Clinton reelection campaign. Against the urging of LaBella and FBI Director Louis Freeh, Attorney General Janet Reno refused to appoint an independent counsel and has not allowed the release of the LaBella report. According to Schippers, members of Congress who requested a briefing on the report were given a censored version in which "there were some 47 blank pages in it which purported to carry the evidence backing up Mr. LaBella's report and his conclusions."
Throughout the interview, Schippers was careful not to reveal too much
about what he read because he was ordered by the Justice Department not
to speak in specifics. Cautious not to incur legal and political reprisals,
he noted, "I was only permitted to discuss the contents of the memo
with [Judiciary Committee] Chairman [Henry] Hyde personally." In response
to O'Reilly asking, "so you... you fear them?" Schippers responded,
"Of course, I do... It's the most unregulated, unanswerable part of
the government... It's a totally out-of-control monster."
Campaign Finance Factoids
Al Gore Hangs Up on Big Money Calls
Once bitten, twice shy. Fearing a replay of the 1996 campaign finance scandals, Vice President Al Gore has cut back on his personal phone solicitations for his own presidential campaign. His tactic is backfiring, however, as U.S. News and World Report reports big Democratic donors are "miffed" about calls from Gore aides and not Gore himself.
Bradley Preaches More Campaign Finance Reform Than He Practices
Claiming "big money gets in the way" of the democratic process, presidential candidate Bill Bradley advocates public funding of political campaigns. But the Los Angeles Times reports Bradley's campaign has so far raised only 2.6% of its money from individuals giving less than $250 - "the smallest percentage among the major candidates of either party." Furthermore, his past record as a Senate candidate shows he rejected voluntary campaign spending caps, took millions of dollars of what he now calls "destructive" PAC money, was crowned "king of bundled contributions" by the Center for Responsive Politics and raised most of his money from out-of-state contributors.
Non-Profit Beats Government Attack on Issue Advocacy
On August 2, U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green threw out most of the Federal Election Commission's case against the Christian Coalition that focused on the organization's use of issue-related voter guides in the 1996 election. Regulation of issue advertising is a key component of the proposed Shays-Meehan and McCain-Feingold campaign finance bills in the House and Senate. Groups as diametrically opposed to the goals of the Christian Coalition as the ACLU and the AFL-CIO nonetheless supported the Coalition in the case. Coalition President Pat Robertson said, "This is an important victory for all citizen groups."