FBI investigating former SEIU President Andy Stern
The FBI and the U.S. Labor Department are investigating prominent labor leader Andy Stern in their probe of corruption at the Service Employees International Union, according to two people who have been interviewed by federal agents.
The disclosure about the federal inquiry of Stern — who abruptly resigned as president of the 2.2-million member SEIU in April — comes just weeks ahead of contentious congressional elections in which the union is spending an estimated $44 million to support its favored Democratic candidates.
Stern left his post two years before the end of his term, saying he wanted to focus more on his personal life. He remains a member of President Barack Obama’s deficit commission and a highly influential figure in the White House, where he was one of the most frequent visitors last year. He is also a research fellow at Georgetown University and a paid consultant for the SEIU.
Federal law prohibits labor unions from creating what amounts to “no-show” jobs that pay someone for work they do not perform.
In 2007 Alejandro Stephens, was president of the SEIU local that represents Los Angeles County government workers. When Stephens’ local was merged into a larger SEIU local and he lost his post as president. The SEIU offered Stephens a generous severance package and a new job as a $75,000-a-year consultant to the SEIU California State Council.
SEIU spokeswoman Michelle Ringuette said the union arranged for Stephens to perform consulting work for the council and agreed to reimburse the council for his annual salary. But she said the union later discovered Stephens wasn’t actually doing any work.