National Legal and Policy Center
Organized Labor Accountability Project

January 5, 2004 -- Vol. 7, Issue 1

For Influential Leaders & Important Decision Makers:
Information on America's most corrupt & aggressive unions

Judge Delays DOL Disclosure Reforms in Election Year

U.S. DIST. JUDGE GLADYS Kessler (D.C., Clinton), on New Year's Eve,
blocked the immediate implementation of the Bush Administration's
union financial disclosure reforms.  Union bosses will now be able
to spend membership dues, voluntary and compulsory, on election-year
politics without having to account for it, which the new disclosure
rules would force them to do.

This is not the first time Judge Kessler has sided with unions in a
disclosure case.  In Dec. 2001, she ruled that documents revealing
links between the AFL-CIO and Democratic Party during the 1996
campaign must be kept secret.  Kessler acknowledged that her opinion
"ends a 25-year practice by the [Fed. Elect. Commn.] to make
available to the public the full investigatory record pertaining to
any complaint filed once the complaint is resolved."  Kessler said
that she was "compelled by the plain wording" of the Fed. Elect.
Campaign Act, which requires that FEC investigations be kept secret
and sets no time limit for disclosure.  The FEC had interpreted the
law as allowing disclosure once the investigation was finished.

The U.S. Dept. of Labor's changes in the LM-2 financial disclosure
required of the nation's wealthiest unions were scheduled to go
into effect on Jan. 1.  But the first filings of the new form would
not have been required until March of 2005.  Nonetheless, Kessler
ruled that unions needed more time to comply with the new rules.
She will rule later on the AFL-CIO's attempt to permanently stop
the reforms.

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