Beyond Justice: Bush Administration’s Labor Department Abuses Labor Union Regulatory Authorities

Source: Scott Lilly, Center for American Progress, December 10, 2007

From the summary:
The problem of unfair and unequal application of the law, however, extends well beyond the Justice Department. Failure by a wide range of regulatory agencies to enforce federal law has benefited some segments of society at the expense of others. There is ample evidence that in recent years the laws protecting the public against air and water pollution, workers against health and safety risks, and consumers against unsafe foods, drugs, and commercial products have all been laxly enforced to the significant financial benefit of certain businesses and at the expense of those whose health and safety those laws were designed to protect.

Lax regulatory enforcement, however, has not been a government-wide policy. In at least one instance, rigorous and in fact pernicious regulatory enforcement was the course chosen by the Bush administration. That instance involved the regulatory authorities of the U.S. Department of Labor under the Landrum-Griffin Act aimed at improving the governance of the nation’s organized labor organizations.

Rather than relax these regulatory responsibilities, the Bush administration shoveled significantly more federal tax dollars into the department’s Office of Labor-Management Services so that key political operatives in OLMS could expand and exercise regulatory authority to:

• Impose costly and confusing new reporting requirements
• Attempt to increase the number of criminal prosecutions
• Disclose the results to the public in seriously misleading ways
• Mischaracterize the published data through a variety of false analyses

The underlying purpose, of course, is to undermine the reputation of the labor union movement through a classic political misinformation campaign–all under the supervision of a lifelong partisan political operative whose career has been dedicated to the destruction of his political opponents.

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