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Every dollar that is spent [by labor unions] on disclosure and reporting is a dollar that can't be spent on other labor union activities.

-Grover Norquist

Well, at least Grover was honest about his motivation for strangling labor unions with red tape.  But as a terrific new report from the Center For American Progress shows, that's not the case with most of the partisan Republican hacks who have been directed by their corporate masters to drown unions in paperwork.

The CAP report details what any union officer knows: over the past five or six years, the Bush Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards has systematically and dramatically increased the financial reporting burden faced by labor unions.  Now, no real unionist is opposed to transparency and sensible reporting -- but the reporting requirements imposed by the Bushies have little to do with transparency, and everything to do with forcing unions to waste time and money jumping through unnecessary hoops.  And these attempts to hogtie unions have come at the same time that the Bush Administration has been loosening corporate regulations and allowing Big Business to run rampant.  As CAP notes,

Failure by a wide range of regulatory agencies to enforce federal law has benefited some segments of society at the expense of others. There is ample evidence that in recent years the laws protecting the public against air and water pollution, workers against health and safety risks, and consumers against unsafe foods, drugs, and commercial products have all been laxly enforced to the significant financial benefit of certain businesses and at the expense of those whose health and safety those laws were designed to protect.  

Lax regulatory enforcement, however, has not been a government-wide policy. In at least one instance, rigorous and in fact pernicious regulatory enforcement was the course chosen by the Bush administration. That instance involved the regulatory authorities of the U.S. Department of Labor under the Landrum Griffin Act aimed at improving the governance of the nation’s organized labor organizations.

Rather than relax these regulatory responsibilities, the Bush administration shoveled significantly more federal tax dollars into the department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards so that key political operatives in OLMS could expand and exercise regulatory authority to:

-Impose costly and confusing new reporting requirements
-Attempt to increase the number of criminal prosecutions
-Disclose the results to the public in seriously misleading ways
-Mischaracterize the published data through a variety of false analyses

The underlying purpose, of course, is to undermine the reputation of the labor union movement through a classic political misinformation campaign-all under the supervision of a lifelong partisan political operative whose career has been dedicated to the destruction of his political opponents.

Read the whole thing.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Dec 11, 2007 at 09:10 AM PST.

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