According to Open Secrets, Lynn Woolsey, during her nearly eighteen-year career in the House, has received a grand total of $51, 700 in campaign contributions from SEIU. Compared with other politicians on the list, she ranks in the middle of the pack. Not surprisingly, SEIU contributes the lion’s share to Democrats, with only a few Republicans as recipients. Thus far in the 2010 political cycle, SEIU has contributed exclusively to Democrats, and Rep. Woolsey collected $5,000 while other office holders received more or less.
As we all know, SEIU has been in the news, nationally and locally, in recent years for questionable tactics and policies. Here in Congressional District 6, for example, there have been accusations by workers and the Sonoma Board of Supervisors:
Just in the last few days, Mark Mix wrote on washingtonexaminer.com about the FEC failing to enforce its own guidelines with respect to SEIU. Said guidelines prohibit unions from collecting political contributions from their locals (i.e., their members) for their PACs by threatening penalties if the locals do not contribute the requisite amount. SEIU’s own constitution, states Mix, orders fines for any local affiliate that does not meet contribution requirements: if the local does not pay $25,000 to the PAC, it will be fined $37, 500 — 150%. This forcing of members (through their locals) to contribute to political campaigns would not be tolerated by the FEC if the culprit were a giant corporation (Mix gives McDonald’s as the example), but Big Labor, and here, SEIU specifically, has gotten a pass from the commission on this coercive requirement.
If Lynn Woolsey is as concerned about workers here in our district as she claims, she ought to think a little more carefully about this action by one of her union donors. SEIU may be a cash cow for her and her Washington colleagues, but in this time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, it isn’t seemly for a candidate to accept contributions that have been coerced from members of any organization, union or not — regardless of whether the biased FEC gives that organization a pass or not.