Sen. Barack Obama won the endorsement of the Teamsters earlier this year after privately telling the union he supported ending the strict federal oversight imposed to root out corruption, according to officials from the union and the Obama campaign.
It's an unusual stance for a presidential candidate. Policy makers have largely treated monitoring of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters as a legal matter left to the Justice Department since an independent review board was set up in 1992 to eliminate mob influence in the union.
It should be troubling to all that Barack Obama has promised new regulations in mortgages, the environment, energy, and health care, but is promising to loosen the restrictions on regulations in unions. Of course, it goes without saying that unions are among the biggest supporters of Democrats.
Obama often cites unregulated fraud as the source of his insistence on new mortgage regulations. Of course, there are few organizations with a bigger history of criminality than the unions. Yet, Obama, concerned so much with criminality in mortgages, doesn't see the same concern with the unions.
Of course, to me at least, this isn't merely pandering, but an obscene affront to policy making. Picking and choosing which segments of the market to regulate heavily and which to reduce regulations based on voting patterns is nothing short of madness. For Obama to give the unions a pass on regulations is nothing short of an outrage. While he enforces strict codes for energy use, environmental exposure, and mortgage disclosure, he will also loosen the restrictions on unions. It is absolutely unbelievable that he has not been challenged on this ridiculous hypocrisy.
The Obama campaign has quickly come out and vigorously denied the WSJ report that I linked to.
Barack Obama on Monday disputed a Wall Street Journal story that claims the Democratic presidential candidate won the endorsement of the Teamsters Union by agreeing to push for dismantling the oversight board that reviews allegations of union ties to organized crime.
The newspaper reported Monday that Teamsters Central Region Vice President John Coli said that on more than one occasion, Obama was “pretty definitive that the time had come to start the beginning of the end” of the panel that investigates suspicious activity. Coli brokered the endorsement, which came in February after John Edwards dropped out of the contest.
I will take Obama at his word and say this is a welcomed development.