SEIU caught in fake charity scam

This kind of thing happens more than you might think; unions seeking to give cronies jobs set up fake charities who siphon hundreds of thousands of dollars from membership dues. Sometimes, a small deduction is taken from every union paycheck by the contractor and paid into one of these charities.

In fairness, most of these undertakings are on the up and up. But a California SEIU boondoggle has been unmasked: Not one dime paid into the organization went to the charity's intended beneficiaries for 2 of the 4 years studied:

A nonprofit organization founded by California's largest union local reported spending nothing on its charitable purpose -- to develop housing for low-income workers -- during at least two of the four years it has been operating, federal records show.

The charity, launched by a scandal-ridden Los Angeles chapter of the Service Employees International Union, had total expenses of about $165,000 for 2005 and 2006, and all of the money went to consulting fees, insurance costs and other overhead, according to its Internal Revenue Service filings.

Charity watchdogs say that nonprofits should never have zero program expenses in two successive years and that well-performing charities direct at least 70% of their annual spending to their charitable purpose.

"Of the 5,000-plus charities we've looked at, I don't think we've ever seen one that didn't spend anything on its charitable programs," said Sandra Miniutti, vice president of Charity Navigator, an online rating service.

You can guess where some of those "consulting fees" go although the SEIU charity never mentions it in their tax filings like they're supposed to. Given the fact that they didn't specify where the bulk of their donations came from either, the thought that this is some kind slush fund for union big shots crosses the mind.

It should be interesting to see where this bottoms out. Was some of that money shunted to politicians in unreported cash? That's usually one of the purposes of a slush fund. Another is to wash mob money. The fact that the charity's  reported income did not identify the source raises those kinds of questions as well.

Then again, it may simply be a fund that union leaders can dip into whenever they want a little extra cash for that trip to Vegas or the Bahamas. The point is, nothing should surprise us about how these monies were used.





This kind of thing happens more than you might think; unions seeking to give cronies jobs set up fake charities who siphon hundreds of thousands of dollars from membership dues. Sometimes, a small deduction is taken from every union paycheck by the contractor and paid into one of these charities.

In fairness, most of these undertakings are on the up and up. But a California SEIU boondoggle has been unmasked: Not one dime paid into the organization went to the charity's intended beneficiaries for 2 of the 4 years studied:

A nonprofit organization founded by California's largest union local reported spending nothing on its charitable purpose -- to develop housing for low-income workers -- during at least two of the four years it has been operating, federal records show.

The charity, launched by a scandal-ridden Los Angeles chapter of the Service Employees International Union, had total expenses of about $165,000 for 2005 and 2006, and all of the money went to consulting fees, insurance costs and other overhead, according to its Internal Revenue Service filings.

Charity watchdogs say that nonprofits should never have zero program expenses in two successive years and that well-performing charities direct at least 70% of their annual spending to their charitable purpose.

"Of the 5,000-plus charities we've looked at, I don't think we've ever seen one that didn't spend anything on its charitable programs," said Sandra Miniutti, vice president of Charity Navigator, an online rating service.

You can guess where some of those "consulting fees" go although the SEIU charity never mentions it in their tax filings like they're supposed to. Given the fact that they didn't specify where the bulk of their donations came from either, the thought that this is some kind slush fund for union big shots crosses the mind.

It should be interesting to see where this bottoms out. Was some of that money shunted to politicians in unreported cash? That's usually one of the purposes of a slush fund. Another is to wash mob money. The fact that the charity's  reported income did not identify the source raises those kinds of questions as well.

Then again, it may simply be a fund that union leaders can dip into whenever they want a little extra cash for that trip to Vegas or the Bahamas. The point is, nothing should surprise us about how these monies were used.