December 22, 2008

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Illinois Scandal Spotlights SEIU’s Use of Political Tactics.

Critics say SEIU’s leaders cut too many deals with politicians and companies, contributing to an atmosphere that lacks transparency.

The Illinois situation fuels a perception that the SEIU has an “inside track” with elected officials, says Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University, in Worcester, Mass. “Every union will use political influence to make organizing easier,” he said. “They may have gone beyond the usual influence.”

Few places more clearly illustrate this than Illinois. The SEIU contributed about $1.8 million to Mr. Blagojevich’s two campaigns for governor, in 2002 and 2006, and was his top contributor in the second election. Critics have long charged that it is suspicious that several big SEIU contributions to Mr. Blagojevich occurred close to when he acted in ways that benefited the union.

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