WA State A.G. Accuses SEIU State Labor Council of Campaign Violations
SEIU, or the Service Employees International Union, is no stranger to controversy, even breaking the law. Anyone who follows politics and labor activities knows the union has been accused of numerous wrongdoings, improper political lobbying, and other issues. They've even been accused of intimidation tactics during the 2012 Presidential election. As far back as 2008, 2009, various facets of SEIU have been entangled in controversy, nationally, regionally, and locally. Now the Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a complaint in court, claiming illegal political action violations.
Now, the council itself is being accused of failing to publicly register as a political action committee after spending millions of dollars on lobbying and other political efforts. Regardless of whether you're spending a few hundred bucks supporting a city council candidate, or millions on sweeping legislation, if you raise money to support candidates or legislation, or lobby to support or reject policy, you have to register as a PAC.
It's not that different than getting a business license, or being a licensed contractor, except in the political world, it's much more stringent.
SEIU's state council, says Attorney General Bob Ferguson, failed to do so. While the council does have a registered PAC, the council itself acted as an unregistered PAC. According to the report from the AG's office:
'In 2014, Council 14 spent $902,005 on political contributions, 55 percent of its expenditures that year.
In 2016, Council 14 spent $2.25 million on political contributions, 74 percent of its expenditures and almost 95 percent of its income for that year.
By not registering as a political committee while operating as one, Council 14 inhibited the public’s right to know the source of its income and how it spent its funding. Council 14 had $1.66 million in receipts in 2014, and $2.36 million in 2016. Unlike registered political committees, it did not report the sources of these contributions."
With all the emphasis on illegal and crooked practices in political races, especially over the last few years, this only adds fuel to the argument that SEIU has, and continues, to skirt around the rules, regulations and policies intended to keep politics transparent and legal.