Andy Stern, the president of the most powerful union in the U.S., the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been appointed by President Obama to the so-called "Debt/Deficit Panel" with the fancy official moniker of The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (did I just hear you snicker?). See a video of Stern below.
The U.S. Attorney's office in the District of Columbia is reviewing a request by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) to look into Andy Stern's frequent visits to the White House and the halls of Congress, for a possible violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act. Stern is no longer registered as a lobbyist according to the Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) who joined the request for investigation with ATR. The President said he would have no lobbyists in his White House, so many lobbyists no longer register...they just lobby the old fashioned way...using the backdoor if necessary.
Registered lobbyists can’t get stimulus money, can’t be White House advisors and are not allowed access to meetings and summits. So how does one get around that? It’s simple; you just don’t register as a lobbyist. That’s what Andy Stern did and it may come back to bite him.Brian Johnson, executive director of AWF says backdooring Stern's influence opportunities is exactly what appointing Stern to the Debt Panel does:
52 days ago, Stern was on CNN and he promised to contact us and explain his situation and provide evidence that he has not been engaged in illegal lobbying,” says Brian Johnson, executive director of the Alliance for Worker Freedom. “Not only have we never been contacted by Stern, but now, the President is sneaking his friends and political supporters in the back-door with this no-show fluff panel to allow the lobbying to continue.ATR believes Stern and SEIU's Secretary-Treasurer, Anita Burger, spent 20% of their time in a single quarter lobbying the White House and Capitol Hill. On November 16th, ATR and AWF delivered a letter to the House, the Senate and to U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips in Washington, D.C.
On February 1, CNSNews reports that a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office says they "continue to review the matter," but an SEIU spokeswoman says "the charges were meritless," and "We have been informed by the Senate that the complaining parties were notified." Apparently meaning that ATR has heard from the Senate, and the Senate thinks the charges are "meritless." Wouldn't you love to know the names of those Senators?
The key question is whether Stern or Burger, no longer registered lobbyists, spent 20 percent of the work time in a quarterly period lobbying lawmakers and whether they failed to report it.This according to CNSNews:
Stern touted his visits at the White House and with other lawmakers on his Twitter account, with messages that include “cocktails with prez and VP,” “lobbying with Mayor Bloomberg,” and “great discussions last two days with Senators.”Hot Air has more of Andy's tweets and he even uses the "L" word:
Lobbying with Mayor Bloomberg on health care. Leaving Senator Snowe. Mayor big proponent of keeping people healthy and the right public plan”
“Great discussion last 2 days with many Senators. Complicated issue but commitment to change. All understand-longer we wait worse it gets”
“Leaving White House. Serious , real discussion with great possibilities. Now work to be done by June 1 deadline. Glad we get start this.”Here's a Stern tweet from the BigGovernment article linked above:
Failing to register as a lobbyist is a crime act. The penalty can bring 5 years in prison and a $200,000 fine.“just left White House where group from MoveOn to Chamber of Commerce but mostly progressives had cocktails with Prez and VP”
You'll remember that President Obama asked Congress to set-up a committee to come up with ways to solve the deficit. He asked that that Committee come up with ideas for reducing debt and reducing the country's deficit. The plan was, that once the Committee made the suggestions, Congress would be bound to voting on an up or down vote - yes, or no - with no amendments allowed.
Our wiley Congress was having none of that. Just because they are officially tasked with keeping the Nation's finances in order, doesn't mean they would allow the President to guilt them into actually doing their job. The legislation failed and so the President signed a non-binding executive order to form the Commission - which will not have much power unless Congress considers, accepts and enacts the panel's recommendations.
The new panel will have 18 members.The President will appoint 6 members, four of whom can come from the same party. Congress will choose 12 members - three each appointed by Democrat and Republican leadership in both chambers. The goal of the Commission is "to put forward proposals to balance the budget excluding interest payments on the debt (the primary budget) by 2015."
Obama has named his 6 appointees: Erskin Bowles, a former Clinton White House Chief of Staff, and a former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson will serve as co-chairs. The White House says these two men "will bring Republicans and Democrats together."
Others named by Obama are David Cote, CEO at Honeywell International, former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alice Rivlin, former CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands Ann Fudge, and Andy Stern, President of SEIU and Chief of Staff of townhall thuggery and "legislative goodies." Stern will no doubt bring his communist manifesto to the table. From Michelle Malkin's book Culture of Corruption a quote from Stern:
EXCERPTED FROM Chapter 7, “SEIU: Look for the union label,” Culture of CorruptionAndy Stern wants YOU "organized" and "unionized." Now every minute he spends with the President can be logged to The National Commission of Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. As he lobbies for card check, he can log it to the Debt-Deficit Panel, after all, "Stern has openly bragged about the SEIU's $61 million investment in Barack Obama." - "we get heard" Stern said.
“The persuasion of power” - Asked about his organizing philosophy, Andy Stern summed it up this way: “[W]e prefer to use the power of persuasion, but if that doesn’t work we use the persuasion of power.”
Related and Background:
Lobbyists Underground: When is a Lobbyist not a Lobbyist?