O'Keefe Rises: Union Bosses Okay Digging Up–Then Filling Back In–Ditches on Taxpayers' Dime
James O’Keefe’s new Project Veritas video (see below) is a stunning exposé of union corruption surrounding so-called “shovel ready” jobs. In typically irreverent Project Veritas style, O’Keefe introduces a new company: Earth Supply and Renewal. What do they do? O’Keefe explains:
First, our excavation specialists insert their shovels into the ground and remove the soil. This presents the problem of an existing hole in the earth, creating a dangerous situation that could lead to hazards, including but not limited to tripping, falling, and bodily injuries.
Then there is the renewal process. At Earth Supply, we train professional backfillers to renew the soil in place of the existing hole, restoring the earth to its original condition.
Some folks say we’re just digging ditches and filling them back up again. But it’s about more than that. It’s about jobs.
That’s the setup. O’Keefe’s Project Veritas then takes this newly-created non-existent company – a company dedicated to digging and filling holes – and asks for help from local union bosses to move subsidies for Earth Supply and Renewal through legislatures. After all, they argue, even if we’re just digging ditches and refilling them on the taxpayer dime, at least we’re creating new union workers.
And, unbelievably, the union bosses are only too happy to help. They couldn’t care less about wasting taxpayer dollars. And that’s precisely what they say.
John Hutchings, director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) New York State Laborers’ Organizing Fund (NYSLOF), explains:
Right now it’s all about jobs. It’s awful hard for anybody to vote against like a jobs bill right now …
He agrees that even if there are sites where this ditch digging and filling has no environmental program, legislators will decide, “it’s a jobs program for the laborers.” And when some of the Earth Supply and Renewal “employees” explain that they literally dig a ditch, then fill it up again, Hutchings says, “It sounds like, it almost is exactly the same as where we were with Green Jobs, Green New York.” Green Jobs, Green New York was a $112 million state plan that was designed to create environmentally-friendly jobs. And it was sponsored, in large part, by unions.
Anthony J. Tocci, business manager of the Local 601 for LIUNA AFL-CIO, goes even further. He says that he’d be willing to help find public funds just to dig and fill ditches:
Hey, if people are willing to give you money, if people will give you the money, that’s fine.
And Hutchings adds:
You know, the Green Jobs, Green New York, between us, a lot of it is bullshit… even if it’s bullshit, I think as long as people are working, that’s not bull, you know what I mean?
Tocci and Hutchings say that this is just the sort of stuff that happened under FDR in the 1930s with the Works Progress Administration. “They dug the roads up, put ‘em back!” says an animated Tocci.
Says Tocci, “You just wanna get the money. Then you figure out afterward.”
Hutchings then explains the economic theory behind all of this:
Well, I think, I think the key thing is, even if it’s bullshit, I think as long as people are working, that’s not bull, you know what I mean? Then you’re doing a service. If there are people working, there are people paying taxes, there are people paying goods, there are, you know what I mean… You’re doing right by the economy… anything that brings work into a community is a plus…
And, of course, the union benefits. Says Hutchings, “It’s a win-win for everybody. Everybody understands that part of it.” Especially the unions, who will be including “employees” of Earth Supply and Renewal in their collective bargaining from now on.
Finally, Hutchings talks about union buddies in government:
What we do is we have, uh, three, we have three, um, lobbying firms. We have, in the city, we have Tom McMahonn, who his brother used to be the Congressman, in Staten Island. We have upstate, we have one for the Democrats, we have Tom Harnet, who works for Meyer Suozzi, he used to be the Commissioner of Labor, I believe…
And so we have them for the Democrats, he usually takes care of the assembly. On the Senate side, we have Powers and Company, who used to be the Republican chairman of New York State, so he takes care of the Senate and that’s controlled by the Republicans. So that’s what we kind of, so when we go for a bill, you know, you’ve got to get approval of the Senate and Assembly and then the Governor’s got to sign it, well, we have a lobbyist for the Republicans and we have a lobbyist for the Democrats, and that’s how we try to push our agenda through, so we tap into people like, uh, Citizens for Democratic, um, Citizen’s Action, Foundation for Working Families, those types of groups that are pretty much believe in you the kind of things we do, work programs and things like that, so you, like for Green Jobs, Green New York, we needed a huge lobby.
And they are also tight with New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
The union bosses have a lot to answer for now that our states’ fiscal outlooks are so bleak. But it seems they’re too busy worrying about where to find the next buck from the taxpayer – even if that buck goes to pay a union “worker” who’s just “renewing” and “supplying” the earth.
See the raw, unedited footage of this investigation here.
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