Political Money Monitor
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Amy Moritz Ridenour, President
20 F Street, NW #700 * Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 507-6398 * Fax (301) 498-1301
Record donations to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign. White House coffees. Boasts of Oval Office influence. Potential quid pro quo for campaign cash. It's not China this time, but the scandal involving America's westernmost territory of Guam mimics its Pacific Rim neighbor
Three weeks after First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to Guam on September 4, 1995, the Guam Democratic Party delivered a $250,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee. Guam gave almost $900,000 to Clinton-Gore reelection efforts in all. In fact, Guam was the largest per-capita donor of any U.S. jurisdiction to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign, averaging $10 per person on the small island. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Even Guam government workers making at or near the minimum wage were 'encouraged' to contribute to the presidential race."
In December 1996, the Clinton Administration indicated it was rethinking long-held government opposition to giving Guam more autonomy on immigration and labor regulation and returning some of the land currently controlled by the Department of Defense. The International Herald Tribune quoted an unnamed government official who said, "We had always opposed giving Guam autonomy over its immigration. But when that [money] was paid, the political side switched." The Clinton Administration reversed itself again, however, when Guam Governor Carl Gutierrez (D) publicly bragged about Oval Office meetings with the President when delivering the campaign donations in Washington.
Governor Gutierrez also has campaign problems of his own. In his recent reelection, it was discovered that 571 voters were not U.S. citizens, 151 voters used a single Social Security number and 1,312 ballots were not counted because they did not vote in the governor's race. A three-judge federal appeals court panel ruled unanimously that Gutierrez's 51% majority was questionable enough to necessitate a runoff. The runoff has not yet been scheduled, but is expected to take place before the end of June. In the last election, Gutierrez spent $4 million, ten times more than his Republican opponent former governor Joseph Ada.
A combination of eight California school districts and local teachers union affiliates are presently barred from collecting any union membership dues until completely audited financial disclosures are completed to ensure that teachers who are not union members but still pay compulsory dues are not overcharged.
Previous court opinions protecting the rights of workers who do not wish to officially join a union require union leaders to provide audited financial disclosures to those workers detailing how their mandatory dues are spent. These workers cannot be forced to pay for union expenses involving political action, lobbying or anything not directly related to collective bargaining. In this case, the union affiliates argued they did not need to provide disclosures because they were part of the statewide California Teachers Association (CTA) union.
In his ruling, however, Judge Charles Legge of the U.S. District Court for Northern California said the union affiliates could not use "local presumption" to get out of the audit requirement. Furthermore, he said the school districts were liable because they are obligated to protect teachers' constitutional rights.
"These teachers are entitled to an accounting of the union's books
before their paychecks are raided by the political operatives of the CTA
and its affiliates," said Stefan Gleason of the National Right to Work
Legal Foundation, which represented the teachers in this case.
Campaign Finance Factoids
Teamsters "Will Not Be an ATM Machine for the Democratic Party"
New Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, Jr. has indicated he plans to radically change the political strategy of his union, saying he "intend[s] to approach issues from both sides of the aisle." In an interview with the Associated Press after his swearing in, Hoffa declared, "We will not be an ATM machine for the Democratic Party." In the 1998 election cycle, the Teamsters gave approximately $2 million to Democratic candidates and just $151,800 to Republicans.
Speaker Hastert Calls Campaign Regulation Bill "Unilateral Disarmament"
When challenged by Republican moderates in Congress to allow a quick vote on new campaign finance regulations, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) is quoted as saying the Shays-Meehan bill - which bans "soft money," regulates certain ads and strengthens disclosure requirements - is "unilateral disarmament" for Republicans because it does not include "paycheck protection" for workers opposed to organized labor using their dues to support Democratic candidates. Hastert said the bill would not likely reach the House floor until September.
NEA Tramples Internal Movement for Political Choice
National Education Association (NEA) delegate Ed Weber, with the reported support of at least 50 others, recently proposed an amendment to the union's bylaws to allow members "to designate where the political contribution portion of their dues money is to be allocated." An NEA committee ruled it "out of order" because "no dues money is used for that purpose." Financial disclosures to the U.S. Supreme Court, however, indicate as much as 40% of the NEA's general fund is spent on activities unrelated to collective bargaining - including politics. The Education Intelligence Agency's Communique newsletter noted, "By quashing Weber's amendment, [the] NEA avoids what would have been a very interesting secret ballot vote on the conduct of its political activity."