Corporate Welfare

When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be There In The Law

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UPS and FedEx are waging a war over labor regulation. We have an article in the works on the topic, so I won't get into all the details, but here's the bare bones: FedEx is regulated by the Railway Labor Act, which is not very union-friendly, while UPS falls under the National Labor Relations Act, which is more congenial to organizing. A union-backed bill would change this, so that a significant portion of FedEx's operations would fall under the NLRA. Not surprisingly, UPS likes this idea and FedEx does not.

Enter the American Conservative Union. Politico reports:

The American Conservative Union asked FedEx for a check for $2 million to $3 million in return for the group's endorsement in a bitter legislative dispute, then flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to pay.

For the $2 million+, ACU offered a range of services that included: "Producing op-eds and articles written by ACU's Chairman David Keene and/or other members of the ACU's board of directors. (Note that Mr. Keene writes a weekly column that appears in The Hill.)"…

In the three-page letter asking for money on June 30, the conservative group backed FedEx. After FedEx says it rejected the offer, Keene signed onto a two-page July 15 letter backing UPS.

Politico calls this "pay to play." Keene's group denies that it has received any money from UPS, which makes the situation sound more like "pay or we won't play." You may suggest your own terms in the comments.

So a Democratic bill to help unions = a proxy battle between competing companies = an entrepreneurial opportunity for a right-wing lobby. Multiply those motives by the number of bills before Congress each session—adding extra for those mammoth pieces of legislation where the stakes are really high, such as cap and trade—and you'll start to get a sense of what politicking means in practice.

Update: Keene replies to his critics here and answers some more questions here.

NEXT: The Assassins Debate

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  1. How about the other way around?

  2. “When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be There In The Law”

    That’s a very awkward play on that slogan.

  3. So a Democratic bill to help unions = a proxy battle between competing companies = an entrepreneurial opportunity for a right-wing lobby.

    None of this is happening with the health care bill, because it is an altruistic, nonpartisan attempt to really help those in need and do what’s best for our country. Just trust me on this, you don’t need to read it or anything. It’s all technical jargon that wouldn’t interest you anyway.

  4. That’s a very awkward play on that slogan.

    I wanted to use “If It’s Brown, Flush It Down,” but unfortunately it didn’t fit the facts of the story.

  5. you’ll start to get a sense of what politicking means in practice.

    I think most of *us* are ahead of the curve.
    Go explain this to Keith Olberman.

  6. And nothing will come of this either.

  7. Ted- I’ll chip in to buy you a ticket to Switzerland, if you’ll drink some of theat “clear liquid”.

  8. Opportunism

    Sometimes the old words work just fine.

  9. It also give you a sense as to why it’s ridiculous to treat campaign contribution regulations as a “free speech” issue.

  10. Principles? We don’t need no stinkin’ principles!

  11. Seems to me the ACU must be trouble to try this blatent of a shakedown. I would hope this play will be the end of their run.

  12. WISN Radio in Milwaukee has been reporting that UPS workers were told via memo they are EXPECTED to come in DURING WORK HOURS to assigned ‘writing rooms’ to write letters to WashDC advocating the unionization of FedEx.
    Monstrous.

  13. Politicians have decided that free speech can be considered campaign contributions. So how are campaign contributions not considered free speech?

  14. Am I the only one who thought that this is what happens all the time? This is just in writing, that’s all.

    I really don’t see a problem with this… I think you’d be naive to think you could craft a law to stop this from happening.

    If we’d all just accept that every one of them is corrupt, they could play any games they want and it wouldn’t matter. Eventually, there’d be no incentive for a company to hire one of these firms.

  15. It’s amazing how blatant this all is.

    “Nice army base you got ‘ere, Colonel. Be a shame for somethin’ to…’appen to it, wouldn’t it?”

  16. It also give you a sense as to why it’s ridiculous to treat campaign contribution regulations as a “free speech” issue.

    How about instead of squashing free speech, we just limit government to its Constitutional role? Any government big enough to grant favors will always be captured by special interests.

  17. Any government big enough to grant favors will always be captured by special interests.

    Iron Law number 6:

    6. Money and Power will always find each other.

    Frankly, I don’t see what’s so horrible about this.

    It’s not “pay to play”; that term applies to actual campaign contributions and support to particular politicians in exchange for access and support.

    ACU is merely proposing to charge for its services as a policy shop/PR firm.

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with campaign finance “reform”, because there’s no campaign contributions of any sort involved, so, per usual, classwarrior weighs in with a big ol’ FAIL.

  18. His streak of pure irrelevance is unbroken, so at least he has that going for him.

  19. “For the $2 million+, ACU offered a range of services that included: “Producing op-eds and articles”

    I’ll do it for half that.

  20. I wanted to use “If It’s Brown, Flush It Down,” but unfortunately it didn’t fit the facts of the story.

    So long as you never describe negotiations with North Korea as ‘If It’s Yellow, Let It Mellow’, I think your job is safe, Jesse.

  21. ACU, integrity for sale.

  22. The biggest problem for the ACU is apparently lack of talent for their leadership group. David Keene has been Chair of ACU since the 1980s when he replace Phil Crane.

    Already in the 1980s Keene was lobbying for government programs – long before “compassionate conservatism” was dreamed up.

  23. “Pay to Bray”

  24. The proper word is “extortion”.

  25. I take it the ACU is now in favor of legalizing prostitution?

  26. nice post…
    ___________________
    Britney
    Entertainment at one stop

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