Commentary Magazine


But What About The SEIU?

The Obama team smartly changed course yesterday, and vowed to assemble complete information on the transition team’s contacts with Gov. Blagojevich. The President-elect promised to collect all data on contacts with “the governor’s office.” But wait, aren’t they missing something?

The SEIU has been identified as Blago’s idea of a go-between to connect him with Obama’s transition team. Shouldn’t the scope of the search be extended to the SEIU (and any other entity) which might have brought messages or helpful “suggestions” from Blago? After all, we know that Blago made contact with the SEIU. It stands to reason that the next step would be to examine whether that “SEIU official” noted in Blago’s criminal complaint spoke to anyone on the transition team about the Senate seat.

Now, the Democrats, including the Obama team, have every reason to try to steer clear of scrutiny of the SEIU. Voters might become curious as to why Democratic office holders would be taking cues from a labor union about whom to place in the U.S. Senate. Imagine if GE got to pick the next Connecticut Senator.

The reason SEIU has such sway is clear. It raises tons of money –over $29M  for Obama and millions more for Congressional races. ( A tidy sum of $10,000 went to an awful lot of key House Democratic leaders.) So, after the Republicans return from their holiday recess, they might start pressing their Democratic friends and the new administration about just how much influence Big Labor has. Well — I suppose we’ll see that when “card check” legislation goes on the agenda for the next Congress.