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Where does the SEIU get its money?

The first rule of holes: when you are in one, stop digging.

This truth is lost on Jon Youngdahl, national political director of the Service Employees International Union. He digs the SEIU into an even deeper hole with his letter to the editor challenging my column on whether unions like his are funding their political activities with contributions from foreign and illegal workers. Youngdahl writes:


Most of the political work of the Service Employees International Union is funded by about 300,000 janitors, nurses' aides, child-care providers and other members who voluntarily contribute on average $7 per month to SEIU's Committee on Political Education (COPE). To be eligible to contribute to COPE, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident.

Most? Not even close. In May 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that SEIU officials bragged they had spent $85 million during the 2008 campaign season, making them the the single biggest contributor to either party in the last election cycle.

Yet according to the Federal Election Commission, the SEIU's COPE fund had total expenditures of just $40.9 million during the 2007-2008 campaign. Hmm. Where did the other $44.1 million come from? It appears that "most" of the SEIU's political expenditures came from sources other than COPE.

But it gets even murkier.

The SEIU's 2008 filing with the IRS (form 990) reports $59,868,786 in political expenditures. That is $25 million less than union leaders had bragged to the Wall Street Journal, and almost $19 million more than the SEIU reported to the FEC it spent on political expenditures through COPE during this cycle. How does Youngdahl explain these discrepancies? And where exactly did the other money come from?

Money the union spends on political activities outside of COPE must come from the union's general treasury -- the same general treasury that collects funds from foreign and illegal workers. Youngdahl does not answer the question posed in my column: Does the SEIU keep track of how many illegal immigrants it has on its union rolls? How much money from these illegal workers (who are by definition foreign nationals) goes toward the tens of millions of dollars the union spends on political activities?

And even these figures don't account for all SEIU political spending. According to the National Right to Work Committee, mailing and phone banking to union members is considered "member communication," not political activity -- even if the sole purpose of that communication is to get out the vote for the union's chosen candidate. How does the SEIU pay for such "member communication," and do foreign or illegal workers contribute to these obviously political expenses? And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If the SEIU does not like such questions, it can thank President Obama. It was the president and his allies who opened the door to this line of inquiry. I contacted the SEIU before publishing my column to get them to provide some answers, but they did not reply. Perhaps they will answer when congressional investigators come calling next year.

By Marc Thiessen  | October 26, 2010; 2:24 PM ET
Categories:  Thiessen  | Tags:  Marc Thiessen  
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Comments

SEIU gets money
from
REAL PEOPLE..

NOT CORPORATIONS

Does that not just Phiessen you OFF

ISA

Posted by: vettesport | October 26, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

SEIU gets money
from
REAL PEOPLE..

NOT CORPORATIONS

nah, it steals it from real people who have no choice but pay and have 0 say in how the money is given away for the benefit of union mgt. wake up and smell the coffee.

Posted by: pervleft | October 26, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

This guy's too lazy to actually analyze union donations, which are available in considerable detail on the website of the FEC. Or, he really doesn't want any of his readers to know that inconvenient fact.

Posted by: aprilglaspie | October 26, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The SEIU's agenda is pretty clear: Keep Democrats in Office.

The reason is simple, as government grows, so does SEIU. The healthcare bill is a perfect example. The union with the largest number of employees represented in the industry is, you guessed it, SEIU. They have more than a million, according to Modern Healthcare.

and who was the most frequent visitor to the White House in the early Obama days? Oh yeah, Andy Stern, head of SEIU.

so, who as the most to gain from Obama care? SEIU. Hence the thuggery we've witnessed in the course of voting on the bill.

Just imagine how nirvanah-esque our healthcare will be when it is entirely controlled by the Federal Government and the folks working in hospitals are represented by unions under Federal work rules and cannot be fired. Won't the nurses, and the ancillary staff be just so kind and courteous?

Of course not. this is what Obama and his cronies have in store for us. Why let it happen?

Fight back.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 26, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

SEIU, other labor unions, Republican PACs, Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers, the SPCA, AARP and all sorts of political players may well get money from "foreign and illegal workers." None of those organizations are responsible for checking to see who's legal and who's not.

You don't have to prove citizenship to be a union member - that's the responsibility of the employer, not the union. And thanks to the recent Citizens United Supreme Court decision, you no longereven have to prove you're made of carbon atoms to throw money at your favorite candidate/issue.

So I'll save Jon Youngdahl the trouble of explaining this to March Thiessen: the answer is, no, the SEIU does not keep track of how many illegal immigrants are members. Thanks for asking ...

Thiessen sees a scandal behind every advocate of basic American rights, in spite of FEC, IRS and responsible journalists opening windows and shining a light on what those advocates are actually doing.

Keep digging your own hole, Marc. You're bound to come up with a nugget someday.

Posted by: fheronaz | October 26, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Once again Theissen embarrasses the Left.. the SEIU is a mostly BIG Gov. Union with deep pockets and of course REFUSES to answer his questions.

Who blocked the New York Times-supported free trade with South Korea and Columbia ? that would have created tens of thousands of American jobs ? Big Unions like the SEIU

Who supported the Wall Street bailouts ? the unsustainable Obamacare ? the failed STimulus that directed most money to bankrupt states to avoid needed public employee cuts ? of course the SEIU.

The SEIU is a cancer on America.. thank God it will soon face needed Congressional oversight... after Nov. 2nd.

Posted by: pvilso24 | October 26, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

The huge dollar amounts of campaign contributions by unions gives me the impression that their members must be REALLY into politics to an extent far exceeding other working Americans. The SEIU political director says about 300,000 members average $7 per month in contributions to the PAC. This would total $25 million for a year, which is a sizeable amount, but is much less than the $85 million that SEIU claims they spent in 2008. Was the other $60 million found in the couch cushions? None of this makes common sense and suggests that laws were ignored. Should our elected officials be looking into this or are they looking away from it?

Posted by: allamer1 | October 26, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Marc thiessen Is an enemy of Unions. Thiessen expose his anti unionism when he insulted union members's intelligence by quoting figures he got from the NATIONAL RIGHT TO WORK COMMITTEE. The right to work people are anti-American and anti Union thuggs. They're cutthroat capitalist. The right to work committee is funded and controlled by the Koch brothers Inc. wall street bigshots, the corporate bosses and the greedy bankers. Most of the workers in these industries are non-union. The National Chamber of Commerce demanded and received campaign contributions from foreign Governments and Dictators. They donated nearly #200 millions to the extreme right wing Republican Tea Party. The sinister "Chamber" Collected illegal money from Arab oil Sheiks, Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan National oil Company, The mexican National Oil Company, The Communist Government of China, The Russian National Oil Company etc. The average wages of workers in right to work states are lower than the average wages demanded by undocumented Mexican workers. I am a member of S.E.I.U. and the Teamsters. Marc Thiessen has disparaged and disrespected my Union. He's a hypocrite and a big house lap dog of the right to work committee. Marc Thiessen is a union member himself. He belongs to the Newspaper Worker's Guild. Thiessen earn a very good Union salary, with great benefits and a Cadillac health insurance plan but he want to deny the same salaries and benefits to non-union workers in the southern and midwestern states. The average salary in unionized Western Europe is about $35.00 an hour with a cadillac health care plan and cradle to grave coverage. The average salary in the U.S.A. is about $14.00 an hour with no health care or any other coverage. Need i say more. S.E.I.U., the AFL-CIO and the whole labor movement are determined to unionized every worker in America. As for you Mr. Thiessen, i would suggest to you in the strongest possible language, don't screw around with the union.

Posted by: ODDOWL | October 27, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

SEIU is worse than any corporation--it's closer to Jimmy Hoffa's Teamsters.

Posted by: suegbic1 | October 27, 2010 4:47 AM | Report abuse

Here's something worth looking into . It's "rumored" that a GREAT DEAL of the SEIU members are ILLEGAL ALIENS , and if you have to be a citizen to fork over the 7 $ a week payola . We need to see if Federal laws are broken here !

Posted by: catinhat83510496 | October 27, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

ODDOWL wrote:

"The average salary in unionized Western Europe is about $35.00 an hour with a cadillac health care plan and cradle to grave coverage."

ODDOWL, Hello? Cradle to grave benefits are the main reason why these countries are bankrupt! That's OK with you as long as someone else has to pay.

***

"The right to work people are anti-American and anti Union thuggs"

People that want the right to work without being forced to join a union? That's Anti-American. I thought America was the land with the freedom to choose. Your idea of freedom means being forced to join a union a forced to give money to candidates you might not support?
LOL!

***

"The average wages of workers in right to work states are lower than the average wages demanded by undocumented Mexican workers"

Do you even realize what you're saying? The average wages DEMMNADED by illegal aliens? Since when does an illegal alien have any rights to demand anything? Go to Mexico and see if you can demand something from the government there. You'll be thrown in jail.

***

"the extreme right wing Republican Tea Party."

People that think we should abide by the Constitution and the idea of the founding fathers of limited government. People like you call this extreme?

Thanks for your keen insight. You would also call the original Tea Party member patriots extreme right wing wouldn't you Comrade?

ODDOWL, how would you like it if I formed a group of people that spends millions of dollars to get the candidate I wanted elected. This candidate has the power to give my group unlimited wages and benefits that increase year after year that the SEIU must pay for with additional taxes taken out of their pay.

Sounds fair to me.

Posted by: BigKahuna1 | October 27, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

ODDOWL wrote:

"The average salary in unionized Western Europe is about $35.00 an hour with a cadillac health care plan and cradle to grave coverage."

ODDOWL, Hello? Cradle to grave benefits are the main reason why these countries are bankrupt! That's OK with you as long as someone else has to pay.

***

"The right to work people are anti-American and anti Union thuggs"

People that want the right to work without being forced to join a union? That's Anti-American. I thought America was the land with the freedom to choose. Your idea of freedom means being forced to join a union a forced to give money to candidates you might not support?
LOL!

***

"The average wages of workers in right to work states are lower than the average wages demanded by undocumented Mexican workers"

Do you even realize what you're saying? The average wages DEMMNADED by illegal aliens? Since when does an illegal alien have any rights to demand anything? Go to Mexico and see if you can demand something from the government there. You'll be thrown in jail.

***

"the extreme right wing Republican Tea Party."

People that think we should abide by the Constitution and the idea of the founding fathers of limited government. People like you call this extreme?

Thanks for your keen insight. You would also call the original Tea Party member patriots extreme right wing wouldn't you Comrade?

ODDOWL, how would you like it if I formed a group of people that spends millions of dollars to get the candidate I wanted elected. This candidate has the power to give my group unlimited wages and benefits that increase year after year that the SEIU must pay for with additional taxes taken out of their pay.

Sounds fair to me.

Posted by: BigKahuna1 | October 27, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

SEIU money is good according to Obama, but corporate money is bad?

Does not compute..... does not compute..

Ahhhh The Nutty Professor.....

Posted by: ravioliman6666 | October 27, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Trying to do the math: 300,000 workers contribute on avg. $7/month. That is 300,000 x $84 dollars which equals(=)$25,000,000 a year collected.

Since this is 'voluntary', it seems that everyone is contributing more than the 'voluntarily' amount requested. It seems a LOT MORE!

And to what else are they voluntarily contributing?

Posted by: tex5 | October 27, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

allamer1 asks: "Was the other $60 million found in the couch cushions? None of this makes common sense and suggests that laws were ignored. Should our elected officials be looking into this or are they looking away from it?"

To ask is to know the answer.. of course our elected Democratic controlled Congress is looking away... Why should they bite the hand that feeds them ? that elects them ?

For the same reason they fight tooth and nail against ANY effort to stop ballot -stuffing or voter fraud...

All Dems may not be Chicago thugs but they certainly benefit from Chicago tactics.

Thank God the Tea Party will help to clean-up Pelosi's "culture of corruption" and throw the bums out.

Posted by: pvilso24 | October 27, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Two words come to mind George Soros any agree

Posted by: freedon | October 27, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Two words come to mind George Soros any agree

Posted by: freedon | October 27, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

fheronaz wrote: "Thiessen sees a scandal behind every advocate of basic American rights, in spite of FEC, IRS and responsible journalists opening windows and shining a light on what those advocates are actually doing.

Keep digging your own hole, Marc. You're bound to come up with a nugget someday."
-------------------------------------
He just did come up with a nugget. And it is a mighty big one. Liberals may choose to look the other way on this one but it ain't going away any time soon. A Republican majority congress is going to be sworn in come January and SEIU is going to have some esplainin' to do.

Posted by: bryanmcoleman | October 27, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I am so looking forward to Nov 3. Not simply to finally see the backs of the most maladroit bunch of fringe extreme parasitical leftists ever voted into a US congress...

No... because on that glorious morning, the Democrat shill media will once again find merit in DISSENT, standing up to the powers that be (apart from Obama), and protesting government.

Posted by: espresso | October 27, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

This is just beautiful! Marc's integrity has been attacked and he has even been threatened by the union stooges! Seems to me he is on to something and to be fair to all parties let us have Congressional investigations to root out the truth and lay the matter to rest. I am sure the SEIU would not protest to an impartial reviewing of the facts since they steadfastly claim that they are following the rule of law.

Posted by: fsharpe | October 28, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

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