Friday, March 03, 2006

Legal Questions for Power Brokers

NY1 reports brewing legal trouble for Democrat Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, and the NYC Central Labor Council, the labor federation which he also leads. According to NY1:

“Queens Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin could be in trouble with the law, after federal agents on Thursday raided and seized files from the Manhattan headquarters of the New York City Central Labor Council, which he runs, and searched his Assembly office.”

Of course, McLaughlin’s woes are not the only image problem for NY unions. The TWU Local 100 is still on the hook for $3,000,000 in fines for their illegal transit strike in December. The union has also been named in a lawsuit by firefighter Matthew Long for injuries suffered as a result of that criminal action, and union president still may face jail time, himself.

The illegal transit strike may be a turning point in City politics. New Yorkers, ordinarily politically correct, were not supportive of the strike. People were heard to wax nostalgic for Ronald Reagan’s handling of the Patco strike. While the union pointed to polls showing public opinion split over who to blame for the illegal strike, that’s hardly covering the spread in a town that’s seven to one Democrat.

It’s time to ask NY politicians who have received generous contributions from unions some tough questions. Did they support the illegal transit strike? Should the $3,00,000 fine against TWU 100 be upheld? Do they support the Long family’s suit against the TWU? Would they consider returning donations received from TWU 100 or offer them to help offset Matthew Long’s Medical bills?

There is some real money to talk about. The state board of elections has a searchable database of donations dating back to July 1999. You can look up TWU 100 and the NYC Central Labor Council. Here are some totals from notable local pols:

A-G Elliott Spitzer $7,750 from TWU and $1000 from CLC
State Sen. David Patterson $20,050 from TWU and $750 from CLC
Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin $9,700 from TWU and $9,400 from CLC
State Sen. Liz Kruger $5,300 from TWU
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver $3,000 from TWU and $1,000 from CLC

It's also a good time to the practice of confiscating non-citizen workers' dues, and illegally converting them into campaign contributions. More background in a previous post.