Hello pot…meet kettle

Jan 30, 2018

Today’s award for mind-boggling hypocrisy goes to the so-called Northwest Accountability Project (NWAP).  In a commentary published on the Washington State Labor Council’s website, the executive director of NWAP complains that “right-wing” groups use their nonprofit, tax exempt status to avoid paying taxes:

"While corporate interest groups have been able to finagle hundreds of wasteful tax loopholes, there are other special interest groups who have circumvented our state laws by abusing their not-for-profit status."

Of course, the only “other special interest groups” on the receiving end of the outrage are “right-wing” groups registered as nonprofits.  Absent is any mention of the fact that left-wing labor unions are special interest, nonprofit organizations that do not pay any taxes.   Also missing is any acknowledgment of the fact the left-wing Northwest Accountability Project itself is a nonprofit, special interest organization that enjoys tax exempt status. 

The many levels of hypocrisy of the rant appear to be lost on the author.

Unions collect hundreds of millions of tax-free dollars from workers every year in the form of union dues and agency fees.  Even worse, that money is forcibly extracted from workers who have no choice but to pay the union if they want to get or keep a job.  Unions use those compulsory dollars to support political candidates and issues (90% of union contributions go to support Democrats and left-wing causes), many of which are in conflict with the beliefs of the rank and file members forced to fund the effort (40% of union members support Republicans).

Of course, unions claim workers can opt-out of paying the portion of dues they report as being spent on political activity, but the reality is unions spend far more on politics than reported since they are not required to include as political spending much of the electioneering that leaders and members do.  Unions further obscure their political spending by contributing money to other left-wing groups and causes (such as Planned Parenthood, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Clinton Foundation and Center for American Progress) and reporting the expenditures as “contributions, gifts, and grants,” or as other vague, non-political categories such as “representational activities.”

The worst of the offenders are government unions, which are the ultimate special interest political group.  They use the taxpayer-funded government to collect their union dues and fees from government workers’ paychecks, and then use that money to elect policymakers who will push labor-friendly agendas.  It is a never-ending cycle of special interest corruption.

These government unions routinely admit everything they do, including bargaining on behalf of the workers they represent, is inherently political, because they involve taxpayer money, public employees, and government services.  The attorney representing California in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association even conceded as much during oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in that case:

"There are deep public policy implications to many of the topics and to the general tenor of public employee bargaining."

So why does the Northwest Accountability Project give unions a free pass on being a special interest political group that enjoys tax-free status?  Because NWAP is a union front group.  It was created in 2015 to attack the Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit think tank that is challenging the forced unionization of government workers and working aggressively to educate those workers on their rights to opt-out of union membership. 

NWAP bills itself as “a social welfare organization dedicated to educating the public on the issues that enhance the well-being of middle-class families and workers,” but the reality is the organization exists solely to sling mud at the Freedom Foundation. 

Under the guise of “exposing The Freedom Foundation’s mission and its network of hatred and extremism,” the NWAP engages in a sort of guerrilla warfare that seems to center on no-holds barred personal attacks against Freedom Foundation staff.  The union-funded group has called Freedom Foundation staff “bigoted and dangerous,” accused them of being “racist,” “xenophobic,” and “anti-gay,” referred to them as “flunkies,” and declared the leader of the organization, Tom McCabe, is “reckless, unethical and failing.”  It labels the Freedom Foundation’s effort to educate government workers on their rights as “nefarious” and “scurrilous.”

Speaking of unethical, nefarious and scurrilous activities, one of the NWAP’s first official actions was to mail a four-page, glossy mailer to Tom McCabe’s neighbors, dramatically warning them that an “extremist” was living in their midst.  Nothing was off limits in the hit piece, which even highlighted the church McCabe and his family attend.  Talk about propagating hatred and extremism.

Of course, what NWAP never wants to talk about is the fact that the decision of any individual to support the Freedom Foundation is completely voluntary.  The donors who fund the group have the constitutionally protected right to walk away if they don’t agree with the group’s agenda.  Union members in Washington have no such right. 

It makes one wonder how many union members would choose to have their dues dollars fund an organization whose sole mission is to attack and harass another organization, whose sole mission is to ensure union workers are aware of the few rights they do have when it comes to how their union dues are spent.  Let's just say there is a reason union bosses are fighting to hard to ensure union workers never have such a choice.