July 17, 2007

Who Loves Corruption?

In the Wall Street Journal today, John Fund complains that Democrats are cutting $11 million from the Office of Labor Management Standards, which investigates labor unions. The conclusion is obvious: Democrats are in favor of union corruption! What's more, says Fund, they're massive hypocrites for supporting Sarbanes-Oxley while turning a blind eye to the fact that a handful of top AFL-CIO officials make more than $130,000 a year. (Really.)

Er, okay. Anyway, it's not clear that the Democrats really are making steep cuts to OLMS. Between 2001 and 2005, funding for the office increased by a whopping $74 million--about 28 percent--even as the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division's budget was being cut by $113 million. The Bush administration was taking money away from labor-law enforcement and putting it toward investigating labor groups. It sure looks like Democrats are now correcting this imbalance, not doing away with union oversight altogether. There's no scandal here.

P.S. This line from Fund is cute: "Whatever sums are spent on union disclosure reports appear to be a good investment." Of course. When it comes to requiring transparency from corporations, prudence is a virtue. Don't want to go to far. But when it's time to investigate unions, then hey, no amount of government spending is too much.
-- Brad Plumer 12:27 PM || ||