Former SEIU Official Appointed by Obama to Investigate Union Corruption, Cuts Number of Investigators

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Has President Barack Obama been deceiving America, with his Ethics Executive Order 13490? It certainly appears that the actions of the Obama Administration are far from his recent statement that he has “put into place the toughest ethics laws of any Administration in history [pause] in history.” A host of Obama’s appointments call into question the President’s commitment to his own Ethics Order. Appointments such as U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Sec. Hilda Solis, DOL Deputy Solicitor Deborah Greenfield, and NLRB Board member Craig Becker undermine Obama’s claim of “toughest ethics.”

Now, the National Right To Work Committee introduces John Lund, Obama’s “overseer” of union financial reporting and disclosure at DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS). This Obama appointee is a former director of the now-defunct Pacific Northwest Labor College, a former SEIU union employee , a fomer IUOE union employee, and former director of the University of Wisconsin School for Workers. Lund’s appointment means that he is now in charge of investigating financial mismanagement and irregularities by the very labor union officials he has trained for decades. (click to view the NRTW shocking handout on Lund)

Big Labor Payback Job One for Obama

Even though Obama campaigned on transparency and a focus on ethics, cronies at DOL focused on eliminating basic financial union disclosure and union officials’ conflict-of-interest disclosures requirements.

At DOL, John Lund cut the number of labor union investigators, rescinded disclosure of union officer benefits, eliminated financial reporting for unions like the Wisconsin Education Association Council, and eliminated conflict-of-interest reporting for thousands of union officials. Each of these actions benefits Big Labor Bosses, but undercuts those forced to pay union dues and fees as a condition of employment.

John Lund Conflicts-of-Interest

The Obama Ethics Executive Order requires appointees to pledge that they will refrain from involvement in matters involving their former employer or clients. The AFL-CIO and other unions are former clients of John Lund , and these unions remain clients of his former and current employer, the University of Wisconsin School for Workers (Lund is currently on unpaid leave while at DOL). The Wisconsin School for Workers’ primary mission is to train union officials; the very officials that Lund now purportedly investigates for corruption.

The following highlights are but a few that The National Right To Work Committee has unearthed to illustrate Lund’s conflicts-of-interest:


  • On 29 April 2008, Lund made formal comments against DOL’s Form T-1 Disclosure Report. As OLMS Director, Lund rescinded the Form T-1 disclosure report on 1 December 2010, and simultaneously rescinded reporting by NEA “intermediate bodies” like the Wisconsin Education Association Council.
  • In 2008, Fund provided training at the IUOE FALL NORTH/CENTRAL STATES CONFERENCE advice on “Selecting and Researching Organizing Targets.” Lund has recently chosen to ignore the 2007 LM-30 conflict-of-interest disclosure reports and proposes to rescind these reports as well to redefine the statutory term “Employer” by regulation, in an effort to eliminate disclosure of union organizing activities and employer-paid union time. In fact, when Lund wrote a 2005 piece about LM-30, a union stewards published an “Advisory regarding Labor Dept. LM-30″ that included Lund’s 2005 LM-30 article. Now, Lund has proposed changes to LM-30 that will eliminate most stewards from having to report any conflict-of-interests or use the LM-30 form.
  • Without regard to appearances, OLMS Director Lund continues to take time to provide training for his Big Labor friends. On 2010 January 25, Lund flew, at government expense, to Seattle, WA, to provide the AFL-CIO’s Washington Labor Council members with a personal overview of his recent reporting rescissions. To the right is an image of the union headlining John Lund’s 3-hour presentation. At the Jan. 25 workshop, Lund will discuss the new regulations, the common reporting mistakes unions make and how to correct them, and answer your specific questions to ensure your LM reports are accurate.[i] OLMS maintains a District Office in Seattle, and its staff would have routinely provided this compliance assistance, rather than OLMS Director John Lund going out of his way to create this personal conflict-of-interest.
  • Among many examples illustrating Lund’s close ties to the AFL-CIO, this Australian description of Lund in 2007 stands out, “For the last four years, he has worked closely with the AFL-CIO on financial accountability and transparency issues.” In fact, AFL-CIO General Counsel Jon Hiatt quoted a John Lund burden estimate for the 2003 LM-2 changes. His and other AFL-CIO expert projections of burden were found to be grossly exaggerated like Dr. Ruth Ruttenberg’s who estimated the LM-2 changes would cost unions $1.3 billion to file.

But, now that Lund is in charge of OLMS, the AFL-CIO’s exaggerations are taken seriously at DOL, despite their past record of demonstrably false expert calculations and comments.

To borrow a phrase from Obama supporter and ACORN founder Wade Rathke regarding NLRB appointee Craig Becker, “Here’s a big win no matter how you shake and bake it,” John Lund being appointed to oversee internal union corruption.


[i] Lund’s January 2010 Seattle workshop provided by the Washington State Labor Council, the M.L. King County Labor Council, and the Seattle-King County Building and Construction Trades Council.

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