While most Americans were enjoying a weekend away from work, President Obama kept busy Saturday afternoon, appointing one of Big Labor’s lawyers to a post at the National Labor Relations Board.
The recess appointment of Craig Becker was expected—despite the Senate’s bipartisan rejection of him in February. The White House knew media coverage would be minimal on the weekend, but Becker can’t escape the scrutiny. (Heritage’s Ryan O’Donnell wrote about the controversial pick last week.)
Prior to his appointment, Becker served as associate general counsel to the Service Employees International Union. The union, which spent an estimated $66 million in 2008 for Obama’s election, has been rewarded dearly for its support. Becker is the third SEIU leader tapped for a post by Obama.
SEIU President Andy Stern and Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger are among the most frequent visitors to the White House. Public records released by the Obama Administration show that Stern made 38 trips to the White House and Burger made 43 visits through Dec. 31, 2009. This prompted Americans for Tax Reform and the Alliance for Worker Freedom to request a lobbying investigation into the SEIU given its close ties to the White House. (Stern is not a registered lobbyist.)
The appearance of preferential treatment hasn’t stopped Obama from rewarding his allies at SEIU. Stern was picked in February to serve on Obama’s debt commission. Burger was tapped for Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board in 2009. And now Becker, despite Senate opposition, has secured a coveted appointment to represent the Big Labor’s interests at the NLRB.