It’s always been interesting to watch those who say they speak for the working class of this nation do so from positions of wealth and excess.
During this 2020 campaign season so far, the Democrats are sporting several candidates who assail President Donald Trump for his wealth, which he achieved well before his presidential run, of course — but these people themselves either come from gold-plated backgrounds or live their own lifestyles of the rich and famous.
A special interest group that generally supports the Dems is, and historically has been, one of the worst examples of that tendency, as this writer sees it. That group is Big Labor.
Now, a New York Times story of Thursday relates that federal prosecutors have uncovered how top officials of the United Auto Workers spend the union dues that their members contribute to keep the union viable.
Well, the union honchos are not only way past the point of viability — they are positively swimming in it, according to this account. Multiple media sources confirm the data.
Gary Jones was the UAW president until he resigned last month over pressure following reports of his official financial habits.
One example of his over-the-top spending, according to court documents referenced by The New York Times: “A December 2015 Gary’s Sales invoice issued to ‘UAW c/o [UAW Official A/Jones]’ for a $13,046.91 purchase that included an order for 12 boxes of Ashton Double Magnum cigars at $268.00 per box (totaling $3,216) and 12 boxes of Ashton Monarch Tubos cigars at $274.50 a box (totaling $3,294).”
Aside from Jones, a Jones associate at the top of the UAW hierarchy, Lance Pearson, also spent $60,000 on cigars and tobacco between 2014-2018, according to this same reporting — all out of union funds.
Now while this analyst is a cigar fan himself, I pay for my own Ashton Double Magnums.
Jones and Pearson had other funding options, for sure.
“This is just one example of expenses allegedly made by Jones, Pearson and others, which prosecutors say were made via accounts set up with hotels such as the Royal Palm Springs Hotel (RPSH) and Loews Coronado Bay Resort, where they had training conferences,” Fox News reported.
The hotels then paid outside vendors on the UAW officials’ behalf, “as a way to conceal the embezzling of union funds for their own personal use,” Fox News also said, quoting the federal complaint.
And in a Detroit Free Press report, federal prosecutors assigned to this case claim that top UAW officials misused over $1.5 million.
Because of this, Vance Pearson, mentioned above, is facing charges including embezzlement of union funds, filing false reports and maintaining false union records, money laundering, conspiracy, and mail and wire fraud.
So while hardworking union members, many of whom voted for President Trump, strive to provide for their families, those who are supposed to be representing their interests are in reality spending union dues on a plethora of pricey recreational items and high-end events.
This is not something labor legend John L. Lewis would approve of, in all likelihood. Jimmy Hoffa? He’d probably like it just fine.