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SEIU's False Front Community Groups Unmasked in Occupy's Front Lines

A recent investigation by the Daily Caller has revealed that the Service International Employees Union–the fastest growing labor union in the United States, which spent $28 million in supporting Barack Obama get elected–have created a covert network of community organizing groups to support the Occupy movement. 

A Washington, D.C. law firm reportedly retained by SEIU helped incorporate the various community groups, and the listed corporate addresses for each group are tied back to local SEIU offices. 

According to the Caller, “The SEIU used the law firm of Trister, Ross, Schadler and Gold to legally incorporate many of the local community groups. The firm was responsible for incorporating the groups in Houston, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington. Michael Trister, the firm’s principal partner, is a well-known labor lawyer. In 1998 he wrote a federal election law manual for union lawyers.” 

According to the Caller:

Incorporated by the SEIU as local non-profits, the groups are waging concerted local political campaigns to publicly attack conservative political figures, banks, energy companies and other corporations. 

Each local group has portrayed itself as an independent community organization not tied to any special interest. But they were founded, incorporated, and led by SEIU personnel. 

The individual activist groups use benign-sounding names including This Is Our DC; Good Jobs, Great Houston; Good Jobs, Better Baltimore; Good Jobs Now in Detroit; Fight for Philly; One Pittsburgh; Good Jobs LA; and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy

In reality, they are creations of the wealthy and influential labor union, amounting to a secret network of new SEIU front groups. One group in particular has gained significant attention in the nation’s capitol–“Our DC”–a name that suggests the group has local grassroots even though its legal address is in Gaithersburg, Md., which is the headquarters address of SEIU Local 500.

Reports indicate that some of the SEIU influence has occurred only a few blocks from where their national headquarters are based in Washington, D.C. in Dupont Circle. According to the Caller one of the groups–Our DC incited protestors at the Occupy CPAC rally in early February, and also sent 30 protestors to unlawfully assemble in the congressional office of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during the December “Take Back the Capitol” campaign

Apparently the campaign, which was promoted by Occupy DC was actually orchestrated by union officials. 

A Caller source said that during the protest African-American and Hispanic protestors occupied McConnell’s office two Caucasian women used laptop computers in the hallway to post messages on Twitter. The event was apparently reported through a website for “99% in DC,” and records from the Internet server dictate the group was apparently managed by SEIU–even though activists in the field denied any connection to the Occupy movement. 

The Caller explained:

The Daily Caller previously reported on a similar tactic employed in February by the United Auto Workers, which sought to distance itself from a “99% Spring” campaign scheduled for April. Planning documents described that union as one participant of many, even though the documents were being distributed from an unprotected portion of a UAW Web server

Many of the Internet domain names for the groups’ websites were originally registered through an anonymous proxy service. But records compiled by Robtex.com, a website reputation management firm, reveal that all of their IP (Internet Protocol) addresses link back to a main SEIU Web server.

An IP address is a unique number assigned to an Internet-connected computer or computer network.The principal IP address of the SEIU’s main Web server reveals an inventory of 69 Web domains representing union and advocacy groups throughout the United States. All of the sites corresponding to the city-specific SEIU front groups are on that server. 

Most of their websites have similar visual designs and appear to be based on the same template — a template that The Daily Caller was able to identify on an unprotected SEIU server.

The group participated in several protests and rallied including occupations of offices for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf and House Speaker John Boehner as well as an “Occupy K Street” rally and the “National Day of Action for the 99%” which resulted in the closing of parts of the Francis Scott Key Bridge that connects the District with Virginia. 

Video evidence captured at CPAC has revealed that an “Our DC” member was leading the charge with a megaphone and another video published by The Huffington Post revealed a massive “Occupy United” banner displayed by protestors waving similar 99% signs. 

The Caller investigation reported:

For example, the legal name of the Los Angeles group “Good Jobs LA,” is “Good Jobs, Safe Communities LA.” It is registered with the California Secretary of State at the Sacramento headquarters address of SEIU California. 

The street addresses listed on many of the websites themselves, however, do not correspond with SEIU locals. 

At least one of the websites, “One Pittsburgh,” provides a list of 14 “coalition partners,” including the NAACP, the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, and locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers and an Ironworkers union affiliated with the AFL-CIO. The SEIU is among that list, making its role appear minor. 

The street addresses listed on many of the websites themselves, however, do not correspond with SEIU locals.

SEIU connected groups are tax exempt under their registered 501(c)(4) status, but contributions are not tax-deductible as they are with charitable 501(c)(3) organizations. The Caller summarized the irony of this story best when it opined, “While the Occupy movement abhors corporate secrecy, demanding that Wall Street firms and banks open their books, the new SEIU network is marked by a lack of transparency that runs afoul of best-practice standards established by the non-profit and philanthropic communities.”

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