Card Check: a direct pipeline to corruption and abuse; Update: Stern?; Update: Guess who was Blago's biggest donor?

Unions expect the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act within the first few months of 2009.  They claim that employees can’t organize effectively with a requirement to use secret ballots in organizing elections.  After this revelation from the indictment against Rod Blagojevich, the largest public-sector union in the US certainly looks untrustworthy with that kind of power:

On November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with SEIU Official, who was in Washington, D.C. Prior intercepted phone conversations indicate that approximately a week before this call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH met with SEIU Official to discuss the vacant Senate seat, and ROD BLAGOJEVICH understood that SEIU Official was an emissary to discuss Senate Candidate 1’s interest in the Senate seat. During the conversation with SEIU Official on November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH informed SEIU Official that he had heard the President-elect wanted persons other than Senate Candidate 1 to be considered for the Senate seat.

SEIU Official stated that he would find out if Senate Candidate 1 wanted SEIU Official to keep pushing her for Senator with ROD BLAGOJEVICH. ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that “one thing I’d be interested in” is a 501(c)(4) organization. ROD BLAGOJEVICH explained the 501(c)(4) idea to SEIU Official and said that the 501(c)(4) could help “our new Senator [Senate Candidate 1].” SEIU Official agreed to “put that flag up and see where it goes.”

110. On November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Advisor B. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Advisor B that he told SEIU Official, “I said go back to [Senate Candidate 1], and, and say hey, look, if you still want to be a Senator don’t rule this out and then broach the idea of this 501(c)(4) with her.”

Let’s just put this in perspective.  The largest public-sector union — the one that works most closely with governments — has officials in it that see nothing wrong with bribing public officials to get their preferred Senate candidate into office through a corrupt appointment.   If Blago’s arrest reflects poorly on Illinois state government, then the involvement of this SEIU official says volumes about the way workers there and everywhere else get represented and organized, as well as how their union dues get used.

If they’re willing to flat-out bribe a governor, they’ll be happy to use Card Check to intimidate workers into unions and increase their dues.  They’ll then use those dues to buy more politicians, just as we see in this indictment.  Card Check is nothing more than a Trojan horse to fund corruption and abuse on the largest possible scale.

The Department of Justice needs to start investigating the SEIU’s activities now.  Meanwhile, we need to remain firm against the EFCA.  The secret ballot is all that will stand between corruption and its lifeblood.

Previous posts on Card Check:

Update: Ben Smith reports that the SEIU official left unnamed in the charges is none other than its president, Andy Stern:

A Democratic source confirms that SEIU President Andy Stern is the “SEIU official” referred to in the federal complaint against Rod Blagojevich.

There’s no allegation that the SEIU official did anything wrong, and what appears to be a wiretap transcript has the official reacting non-commitally to Blagojevich’s offer of a quid pro quo. Another Democratic source tells me that Stern was been in Chicago November 3 meeting with Blagojevich, a discussion thought to have included talk about the Senate seat — though that meeting isn’t mentioned in the complaint.

Maybe it’s time for a RICO investigation into the SEIU.

Update II: Along those lines, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation shows why Stern would have been consulted by Blagojevich:

Our research today indicates that Andy Stern’s SEIU has been Blagojevich’s biggest financial backer for years. According go the Illinois Sunshine Database, the SEIU Illinois Council PAC was the governor’s top contributor in his re-election effort, giving $908,382 in the 2005-2006 cycle. That same cycle, PACs for the Laborers and Teamsters unions, also Change to Win partners, were also among Blagojevich’s top 15 contributors.

The relationship between Blagojevich and the SEIU’s political fundraising arms go back years. In his first gubernatorial election in 2002, the SEIU PEA International gave his campaign $821,294, making the PAC his second largest contributor that cycle (the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had contributed $900,000 to the then-Congressman).

All told, union PACs poured more than $8 million into Blagojevich’s two gubernatorial campaign coffers.

Pay to play, baby.  Pay to play.  Blago apparently wanted to make sure he squeezed them for all he could before letting go of this gold mine of an opportunity.