Tag Archive for Citizens Against Identity Theft and Ballot Fraud

Where the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust Spends Its Money: Now We See How Unions Spread It

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust is an arcane entity authorized by the obscure Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978, a law signed by President Jimmy Carter and implemented by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. There are no federal or state regulations specifically addressed toward these trusts, and these trusts do not have any reporting requirements to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Since its founding in 2006, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust has collected $5,110,095 in receipts, consisting of $2.6 million in seed money from another trust, about $1.7 million in “membership dues” (paid by power plant owners and contractors as a condition of Project Labor Agreements extracted by California Unions for Reliable Energy), and $450,000 in net investment returns. A chart of the organization’s finances is at the end of this post.

Where does the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust send its millions of dollars? I attempted to find out using the organization’s IRS Form 990s (2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008), state and local campaign finance reports, and other sources. See the list below.

1.  $1,095,000 – Taxpayers to Preserve Community Jobs, No on Measure A, sponsored by labor and management organizations (June 5, 2012 election in City of San Diego)

As of May 25, 2012, the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust has contributed $1,095,000 to the campaign committee opposing Proposition A, a “Fair and Open Competition” measure on the June 5, 2012 ballot in the City of San Diego that would prohibit the city from requiring construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with unions as a condition of working on a taxpayer-funded project. The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust has provided 92% of all receipts for this campaign committee.

2.  $770,000 – UCLA Labor Center (aka UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education), part of the University of California Miguel Contreras Labor Program

The California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust has contributed a cumulative total of $770,000 to the UCLA Labor Center, primarily or exclusively for the establishment and operation of the UCLA Labor Center’s California Construction Academy, a propaganda operation that issues biased studies and bogus reports about construction labor issues using the UCLA name and affiliation.

The UCLA Office of Research Administration’s Office of Contract and Grant Administration received $250,000 in 2010-11, $250,000 in 2009-10, and $150,000 in 2008-09 from the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust. In 2007-08, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust contributed $120,000 for a “Workforce Development Leadership Academy Grant” sent to PO Box 951478 in Los Angeles, zip code 90095. (This is the address for the UCLA Labor Center.)

There seems to be confusion at the UCLA Labor Center about how much the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust has contributed to the UCLA Labor Center’s California Construction Academy. The 2010-11 annual report for the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education recognizes a grant of $450,000 from the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust, but a footnote added on April 4, 2012 indicates that the $450,000 is a cumulative amount for several years, with $180,000 as the actual amount for 2010-11. A press release from the UCLA Labor Center’s California Construction Academy tries to rebut a March 27, 2012 article from www.PublicCEO.com entitled Project Labor Agreement Debate is as Complex as It is Conflicted by stating that “according to the 2009 990 IRS Form, the UCLA Labor Center received $450,000. In fact, when clicking on the document, the amount the Labor Center received was $180,000.” (See this link: Correction on PublicCEO.com Post: CCA Advances Broad Construction Industry InterestsCalifornia Construction Academy: A Project of the UCLA Labor Center – March 27, 2012.) PublicCEO.com then countered with its own correction that stated “Editors note: Originally, the UCLA Annual Report showed a donation of $450,000, as was reported in this article. That was an incorrect total. The report, and this article, now accurately reflect a donation of $250,000. The $450,000 UCLA reported was a total of several years.”

This outfit of five professional staff promotes the political agenda of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, including government-mandated Project Labor Agreements and union control of so-called “green jobs” in the construction industry. The founding Academy Director and Senior Advisor is David Sickler, former Southern California Regional Director of the State Building and Construction Trades Council. The advisory board for the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education consists extensively of officials representing building trades unions. 

The UCLA Labor Center California Construction Academy was the organization used by the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California to awkwardly and ineffectively challenge a study published in July 2011 by the National University System Institute for Policy Research in San Diego indicating that schools built in California with Project Labor Agreements cost 13%-15% more than schools built under fair and open competition. As part of this response, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust mailed a letter to local elected officials throughout the state attacking the study, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson mailed a letter to county superintendents and other educational officials attacking the study and providing the report from the UCLA Labor Center California Construction Academy.

3.  $250,000 – No 98/Yes 99 – A Committee of City and County Associations, Taxpayers and Environmental Groups, League of California Cities, Californians for Neighborhood Protection, Coalition of Conservationists

On April 7, 2008, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust contributed $250,000 to this No on 98/Yes on 99 campaign committee to oppose a statewide ballot proposition on the June 2008 ballot that would have restricted the ability of governments to gain possession of private property through eminent domain. The proposition failed – it only received 39% of the vote.

4.  $164,550 – “Other” (?)

The California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust reports that it spent $164,550 on “Other” fees for services (non-employees) in 2010-11. No additional information is given, and these expenditures are not classified as administrative, accounting, or legal services. I’m unable to determine where this money went, but I’m guessing it was used for something political that promoted unions and socked it to California taxpayers. Any ideas?

Contrary to some rumors, “Other” does not appear to be the union front group Citizens Against Identity Theft and Ballot Fraud, sponsored by labor organizations, which funded a radio advertising scam in the summer of 2011 meant to discourage Sacramento and San Diego voters from signing petitions to place Fair and Open Competition measures and a Paycheck Protection initiative on the 2012 ballots. See my post thoroughly outlining this scheme here.

5.  $100,000 – Apollo Alliance

The Apollo Alliance received $75,000 in 2010-11 and $25,000 in 2009-10 from the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust. This is currently a project of the Blue-Green Alliance, a coalition of environmental organizations and unions on a quest to stop global warming through government programs and a union workforce. President Obama’s former “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones was an influential founder and leader of this organization.

6.  $100,000 – Paxton-Patterson Construction Lab/Shop in San Joaquin County

In 2007-08, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust contributed $100,000 to the San Joaquin Office of Education’s Career and Technical Education Program to establish a Paxton-Patterson Construction Lab/Shop.

The story behind this contribution is a mystery. Public records provided by the San Joaquin Office of Education in October 2011 did not include any documents dated earlier than September 17, 2007, when the former County Superintendent sent a letter to Bob Balgenorth (chairman of the the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, and chairman of California Unions for Reliable Energy – CURE) thanking him for the contribution. Surely there was something beforehand that led to a private contribution of $100,000 arriving at the office! Those kinds of checks usually don’t arrive in the mail without extensive solicitation.

In addition, the records did not indicate whether or not the Paxton-Patterson Construction Lab/Shop was ever built. Where are the two plaques celebrating Bob Balgenorth (as referenced in the letter)? When was the photo op? Where are the photos? How was the money spent?

In May 2007, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to require contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions as a condition of working on the county’s New Administration Building. (See my post here providing some background on that vote.) Is there a connection between the two incidents? 

7.  $50,000 – Taxpayers to Preserve Community Jobs, No On Measure G, sponsored by labor and management organizations (June 8, 2010 election in City of Chula Vista)

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust contributed $50,000 to the campaign committee opposing Proposition G, a “Fair and Open Competition” measure on the June 8, 2010 ballot in the City of Chula Vista that would prohibit the city from requiring construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with unions as a condition of working on a taxpayer-funded project. The funding was in vain, as 56.37% of Chula Vista voters approved the proposed ordinance.

The ordinance is now Chula Vista Municipal Code Section 02-59. At the behest of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, Governor Brown and the Democrat Party leadership in the California State Legislature tried to financially punish the citizens of Chula Vista for enacting this ballot measure with Senate Bill 922 (signed into law in 2011) and Senate Bill 829 (signed into law in 2012). See my blog posts about these laws here and here.

8.  $50,000 – Fresno Area Construction Team (F.A.C.T.)

A group called the Fresno Area Construction Team received $50,000 in 2010-11 from the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Trust to promote union contractors, union construction, and union apprenticeship programs in the Central Valley. It appears to have the involvement of the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local No. 162, Plumbers Union Local No. 246, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local No. 100. This group advertises, spent $51,862 on “consulting,” and even spent $992 on “travel and entertainment for public officials,” according to this form.

Financials: California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust

Year Gross Receipts Contributions & Grants/Program Service Revenue/Other Investment Income Total Revenue
   $ 2,595,954 “Contribution from Prior Trust”
2007-08  $    593,950  $    283,670  $      97,150  $    380,820
2008-09  $    463,792  $    506,403  $    (42,611)  $    463,792
2009-10  $    522,782  $    274,437  $    200,583  $    475,020
2010-11  $    933,617  $    678,209  $    195,780  $    873,989
Total  $ 5,110,095  $ 1,742,719  $    450,902  $ 2,193,621

 

Year Grants & Similar Amounts Other Expenses Total Expenses
2007-08  $    220,000  $    290,859.  $    510,859
2008-09  $    150,000  $      21,143  $    171,143
2009-10  $    205,000  $      16,839  $    221,830
2010-11  $    375,000  $    234,319  $    609,319
Total  $    950,000  $    563,160  $ 1,513,151

 

Year Revenue Minus Expenses Total Assets
2007-08  $  (130,039)  $ 2,595,954
2008-09  $    292,649  $ 2,888,603
2009-10  $    253,181  $ 3,141,784
2010-11  $    264,670  $ 3,406,454

Charts from the Investigative Report on the Summer 2011 Radio Ad Campaign by Union Front Group “Citizens Against Identity Theft”

Investigative Report: Unions Spent $522,500 in Summer 2011 Radio Campaign to Discourage Californians from Exercising Their Right to Petition the Government

Charts

The May 16, 2012 FlashReport on California’s Most Significant Political News featured my article detailing the extensive union radio advertising campaign in the summer of 2011 to scare California voters into declining to sign petitions to place measures on the ballot. This campaign was meant to derail efforts to gather signatures on petitions to place Fair and Open Competition measures on the ballot in San Diego and Sacramento, as well as a pension reform measure in San Diego and a paycheck protection initiative for all of California.

These union radio advertisements failed to stop what is now on the June 2012 ballot in the City of San Diego as Proposition A (Fair and Open Competition + Contracts Online) and Proposition B (Pension Reform). It also failed to stop what is now on the November 2012 statewide ballot as Paycheck Protection.

I scrutinized the raw data from the campaign financial reports and sorted it systematically into user-friendly charts and reports. Because the charts are in a somewhat difficult format to read on the FlashReport web site, below I have posted three charts from the article: a list of professional firms that received work for this campaign, a list of donors, and a list of the 33 radio stations and the amount spent by the unions on each station.

WHO GOT THE WORK FOR THIS CAMPAIGN?

$30,130.25

Sadler Strategic Media in Los Angeles collected $406,830.00 for radio airtime and production costs. It paid a total of $376,699.75 to 33 radio stations, leaving it with $30,130.25 – an 8% fee.

$36,228.74

Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP in Sacramento collected $36,228.74 for legal work and accounting.

$12,000.00

California Majority Group, LLC (a campaign consulting firm in Sacramento) collected $12,000.00 and subcontracted with Acosta Salazar, LLC (a campaign consulting firm in Sacramento) for $8,000.00.

$4,750.00

California Professional Firefighters Ballot Issues Committee donated $4,750.00 for video services.

$3,349.38

McClatchy Insurance Agency, Inc. in Sacramento collected $3,349.38 for office space.

$2,860.00

American Web Services, Inc. in Sacramento collected $2,860.00 for a web site.

WHO GAVE THE MONEY FOR THIS CAMPAIGN?

Here are the donors of the $522,500 total given to the “Californians Against Identity Theft and Ballot Fraud, supported by labor organizations.”

$150,000.00

Members’ Voice of the State Building Trades

$100,000.00

California State Pipe Trades Council

$50,000.00

United Food and Commercial Workers Issue Education Fund

$35,000.00

California Professional Firefighters

$30,000.00

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 47

$30,000.00

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245

$25,000.00

National City Park Apartments No. 1 (I didn’t make this one up: it is a “low to moderate income apartment community” owned by the San Diego County Building Trades Family Housing Corporation: see here.)

$25,000.00

San Diego and Imperial Counties Central Labor Council

$25,000.00

Southern California Pipe Trades District Council #16

$25,000.00

Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers

$15,000.00

California Conference Board Amalgamated Transit Union Issues PAC

$5,000.00

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 569

$5,000.00

Painters and Allied Trades District Council #36

$2,500.00

Santa Clara & San Benito Counties Building & Construction Trades Council

$522,500.00

Total

WHICH RADIO STATIONS PLAYED THE ADS, AND HOW MUCH MONEY DID THEY GET?

Californians Against Identity Theft and Ballot Fraud reported payments to 33 radio stations:

Sacramento Media Market

$19,201.50

KFBK 1530 AM News/Talk

$16,298.75

KSEG 96.9 FM Classic Rock

$11,305.00

KNCI 105.1 FM Country

$11,275.25

KRXQ 98.5 FM Active Rock

$9,180.00

KYMX 96.1 FM Adult Contemporary

$7,191.00

KDND 107.9 FM Contemporary Hits

$6,574.75

KSTE 650 AM News/Talk

$6,324.00

KQJK 93.7 FM Adult Hits

$4,466.75

KHTK 1140 AM Sports

$3,995.00

KGBY 92.5 FM (then) Adult Contemporary

$1,224.00

KNTY101.9 FM Country

$714.00

KHLX 93.1 FM Classic Hits

$97,750.00

Total – Sacramento Media Market

 San Francisco/Northern California Media Market 

$14,400.00

KCBS 740 AM News

 Los Angeles Media Market 

$55,420.00

KFI 640 AM News/Talk

$31,005.00

KNX 1070 AM News

$17,255.00

KOST 103.5 FM Adult Contemporary

$16,022.50

KABC 790 AM News/Talk

$15,000.00

KRTH 101.1 FM Classic Hits

$12,941.25

KLOS 95.5 FM Rock

$8,670.00

KKGO 105.1 Country

$8,670.00

KSWD 100.3 Classic Rock

$5,890.00

KFWB 980 AM News/Talk

$170,873.75

Total – Los Angeles Media Market

 Riverside-San Bernardino (Inland Empire) Media Market 

$4,320.00

KFRG 95.1 FM Country

$3,761.25

KOLA 99.9 Classic Hits

$8081.25

Total – Inland Empire Media Market

 San Diego Media Market 

$18,929.50

KFMB 100.7 Adult Hits

$18,419.00

KOGO 600 AM News/Talk

$12,835.00

KYXY 96.5 FM Adult Contemporary

$9,996.00

KFMB 760 AM News/Talk

$6,613.00

KIFM 98.1 FM Smooth Adult Contemporary

$6,188.00

KSON 97.3 FM Country

$5,622.75

XEPRS 1090 AM Sports (Tijuana station)

$4,998.00

XHPRS 105.7 FM Oldies (Tijuana station)

$1,963.50

KPRI 102.1 FM Adult Album Alternative

$85,564.75

Total – San Diego Media Market

 Total Spent on California Radio Ads: $376,669.75

My Investigative Report on www.FlashReport.org: Unions Spent $522,500 in Summer 2011 Radio Campaign to Discourage Californians from Exercising Their Right to Petition the Government

Today (May 16, 2012) the FlashReport on California’s Most Significant Political News features my exclusive article outlining the details of the extensive union radio advertising campaign in the summer of 2011 to scare California voters into declining to sign petitions to place measures on the ballot.

Nine months later, California citizens are now able to scrutinize the campaign financial reports for this radio campaign and get donor and expenditure information. Union leaders did not provide this information to the public or to the news media at the time they were running the commercials, of course. Citizens can now see which professional firms assisted with the campaign and how much money the unions paid these firms for services. We can even see how much the unions paid each of the 33 radio stations that ran the commercials.

One of my frustrations about California political news coverage is the lack of research and exposure of the dirty details of old political strategies that created a ruckus when they occurred. Perhaps editors and reporters have done market research and determined that their audience would consider this to be “old news” not worthy of reading. Perhaps they just assume that their audience wouldn’t care and such coverage would not generate public attention and the resulting circulation and advertising revenue. Or perhaps the research is too tedious and technical for busy reporters under constant pressure.

Well, I have no advertisers, and I did not forget about this $522,500 radio advertising campaign, run by a union front group calling itself Citizens Against Identity Theft.

Read my article here: Investigative Report: Unions Spent $522,500 in Summer 2011 Radio Campaign to Discourage Californians from Exercising Their Right to Petition the Governmentwww.FlashReport.org – May 16, 2012

UPDATE (April 20, 2013): Today I stumbled on an old February 6, 2012 report in the Sacramento Bee that Britton “Jerry” McFetridge had died. I note in my article that McFetridge was one of the officers of Californians Against Identity Theft, but I had been unable to find his current occupation. The article describes his career:

He served under several Democratic members of the Legislature, including current state Treasurer Bill Lockyer. He is credited with mentoring dozens of Democratic staff members and shepherding significant legislation through the process over the years, including the state’s prevailing wage law and the California Occupational Safety and Health Act.

After leaving the Legislature, he became legislative and political director for the State Building and Construction Trades Council.

The article also quotes Senate Secretary Greg Schmidt, described as “a close personal friend” of McFetridge. Schmidt was the official in the legislature who deflected the requests of Associated Builders and Contractors of California under the authority of the Legislative Open Records Act to obtain certain public documents. These documents were related to a secret internal directive to require contractors to employ an “all-union workforce” on the 2005 construction of the Capitol Park Safety and Security Improvement Project. Read the letter: Schmidt Response to California Legislative Open Records Request on “All-Union Workforce” for State Capitol Project – July 25, 2005.