Hilda Solis resigned as Secretary of Labor on January 22, and her legacy will be giving the unions a pass on the financial reports they’re supposed to fill out so that union members know how their money is being spent. The reports are required under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), which was given teeth by the previous Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao. Solis’s undoing of that progress can be seen in the findings last year of the Office of Inspector General’s review of the Department’s own auditing of union disclosures. As James Sherk and Rudy Takala point out:
[T]he OIG found that 76 percent of the reviewed […] audits missed non-criminal violations of the law. These violations include failing to file and failing to maintain records.
The audits did track criminal violations of the LMRDA. A good thing, too: 16 percent of unions audited—one in six—committed criminal violations of the LMRDA. In all, 92 percent of the unions that were audited violated regulations. The [Office of Labor Management Standards] failed to report 76 percent of those violations because of their flawed reporting standards.
Equally problematic, OLMS has dramatically cut back on its audits. Despite frequently finding criminal violations, the Obama Administration cut the number OLMS audits by almost 40 percent between 2009 and 2011. Union officers abusing their positions are substantially less likely to be audited now than before Solis took office. [The Foundry, January 29]