On Friday, August 1, the Press-Telegram of Long Beach, CA reported that the Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB) has apparently been using general union funds to assist political campaigns of favored candidates for school board during the 2006 and 2008 campaign season. At least $110,000 was illegally used for political purposes.

An audit of the TALB’s books seems to show that, along with the funds legally set up to be used for political purposes, the general fund was also used for political campaigning. This is illegal because in California, union members can request that their dues not be used for political purposes. If a member makes such a request his dues are supposed to go to the general union fund and not into the political accounts.

Along with the misappropriation of funds for political purposes, there are questions on the method used by the union to pay back past political campaign overruns. The union basically extorted it from the members and also used funds that were to go for campaigning in other years.

Hemming-Morse noted that in late 2006, the union began assessing teachers $6 per month for a special political fund dedicated to supporting the union’s 2008 political campaigns. The union apparently paid off a portion of the 2006 loans by using a political fund that had been earmarked for the 2008 political races, auditors found.

Now, I bring this up not because I have any particular interest in the Long Beach teachers union. But, one can only imagine how widespread this sort of fraud is throughout the country. The laws that assure members that their money is going to fund general union operations instead of political campaigns is no where monitored. Who is to say how many union members’ dues are going to political uses against those members’ wishers?

My guess is that it is rampant. We need this matter looked into throughout the country.

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