AWESOME: Union Front Group Got Taxpayer Funds From Department of Labor to Push Minimum Wage Hikes

Guest post by Eric Boehm

The U.S. Department of Labor handed over $ 275,000 in taxpayer-funded grants in 2009 to an organization that claimed to be a charitable nonprofit with tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

But that organization was not officially certified as a 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit until 2010, documents show.

The Restaurant Opportunity Center, or ROC-United, a national organization working to raise the minimum wage and improve working conditions for restaurant workers by combing the labor organizing muscle of powerful unions with Occupy Wall Street protest tactics, got the grant anyway.

The group is organizing several high profile events this week to highlight the $ 2.17 national minimum wage for tipped workers.

In the 2009 grant application, ROC United submitted a letter to the Department of Labor that showed the IRS had granted tax exempt status to ROC New York — an affiliated but legally separate organization — even though the $ 275,000 grant would flow to ROC United.

The department was either fooled by the application or didn’t check it closely enough.

Either way, ROC was awarded the grant through the Susan Harwood Grant Program, which is supposed to be limited to 501(c)3 charitable nonprofits, a status not granted to ROC United until June 2010.

“This is also further reason why ROC should not be receiving taxpayer funds. ROC takes taxpayer money, then turns around and lobbies Congress and pushes labor-backed initiatives across the country,” said Mike Paranzino, communications director for ROC Exposed, a political nonprofit that obtained the 2009 grant application via a Freedom of Information request.

Documents obtained by ROC Exposed show that when ROC United applied for the federal grant in August 2009, the group was in the midst of a back-and-forth battle with the IRS over its tax status.

On the application, ROC United claimed to be a “nonprofit with 501(c)3 status.”

But six months later, in February 2010, lawyers representing ROC United were still haggling with the IRS over the organization’s status, and indicated in a letter that the IRS hadn’t granted ROC United official 501(c)3 status.

By that time, the grant records show, federal cash was already flowing to the organization.

A spokesman for the department didn’t respond to a request from Watchdog.org seeking information about the grant application and whether it could be reviewed five years after it was approved. The department also didn’t respond when asked if there could be penalties imposed for grants that were obtained with inaccurate application information.

ROC United didn’t return calls for comment.

When the Labor Department announced the grants in 2009, the award given to ROC United was supposed to “provide training to small restaurant employers” and to develop “local health and safety committees for ongoing workers and employers.” The grant said ROC United would provide training to 50 restaurants and an estimated 2,000 workers in Chicago, New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C.

Since 2009, affiliates of ROC United have sprung up in each of those cities.

But training workers on safety issues is hardly the organization’s primary purpose.

Founded after 9/11 to help restaurant workers displaced from their jobs in lower Manhattan, ROC has morphed into a national organization with branches in most major cities. The organization’s goal is “to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s restaurant workforce,” according to its website, which brags about ROC’s role in several states’ recent decisions to raise the minimum wage.

The organization has helped organize protests against several restaurant chains and is helping promote protests on Thursday — February 13, a date meant to draw attention to the $ 2.13 per hour wage for tipped workers — around the country.

The group joined U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on Wednesday for a conference call urging an increase to the national minimum wage, and ROC United bragged on its Facebook page about being at the White House for an event focusing on the minimum wage.

The group has slowly gained more influence with the Labor Department since that initial 2009 grant, regardless of whether the grant was obtained properly.

In 2011, the department announced an “alliance” with ROC to promote workplace safety.

Its success has caught the eye of major unions, who see service sector employees as a new frontier in labor organization.

All over America, workers are organizing in all kinds of ways, and they call their unity by all kinds of names — workers’ unions, associations, centers, networks,” said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka in September, praising ROC United’s executive director Saru Jayaraman for her role in organizing restaurant workers.

While ROC United puts pressure on restaurants to increase wages, Congress might soon put pressure on them.

Two years ago, the House Oversight Committee caught wind of the 2009 grant application and the seemingly inaccurate representation of the group’s tax exempt status.

In a letter to the Labor Department, committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., asked for information about that questionable 2009 grant and why it was awarded when the organization wasn’t yet recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit.

ROC’s history of intimidation towards opponents and management problems with its own restaurant raises significant questions about why DOL decided to form an alliance with and provide federal funding to the organization,” Issa wrote.

The grant is one of six taxpayer-funded grants ROC has received from the federal government — the other five came from the U.S. Department of Health, federal records show — totaling more than $ 1 million.

Caitlin Carroll, spokeswoman for the House Oversight Committee, said lawmakers and staff are currently reviewing additional materials received from the Labor Department concerning the issues raised in the July 2012 letter.

Boehm is a reporter for Watchdog.org and can be reached at EBoehm@Watchdog.org. Follow @WatchdogOrg and @EricBoehm87 on Twitter for more.

Doug Ross @ Journal

I GUESS WHINY, DEPRESSING LIARS AREN’T GOOD FOR RATINGS: State of the Union Nielsens Lowest Ever

An anonymous tipster writes, “…according to Niesen, Obama’s 2014 SOTU registered only a 20.7 household share rating… and according to the chart in the story below which goes back to 1993, no President has had a lower rating. I don’t know how far back you’d have to go to find a lower rating, but it is at least the lowest in over 20 years. He’s now historically boring and tough to watch.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 President Barack Obama delivered his second State of the Union address of his second term in office. The address was carried live from 9:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. on 13 networks and tape-delayed on Univision. The sum of the average audience for those networks was 33,299,172 viewers with a combined household rating of 20.7. The networks carrying the address live were CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, Azteca, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Al Jazeera America, Galavision and Mun2.

Networks Combined Household Ratings No. of Households No. of Viewers (P2+)
CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, Azteca, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Al Jazeera America, Galavision, Mun2, UNI* 20.7 23,949,843 33,299,172
Source: Nielsen

*Tape delay.

Below is a historical look at past State of the Union addresses.

Historical State of the Union Addresses

Date Networks Combined Household Rating Combined No. of Households Combined No. of Viewers President
2/12/2013 FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Azteca, UNI, MFX, CNBC, CNN, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Current, Centric, GALA 21.8 24,767,047 33,497,607 Obama
1/24/2012 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TEL, TF, UNI, CNBC, CNN, FBN, FOXNC, GALA, MSNBC and MUN2 24 27,569,423 37,752,613 Obama
1/25/2011 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TEL, UNI, CNN, Centric, CNBC, FOXNC, and MSNBC 26.6 30,871,688 42,789,947 Obama
1/27/2010 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TEL, UNI, CNN, BET, CNBC, FOXNC, MSNBC 29.8 34,182,725 48,009,595 Obama
2/24/2009* ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, TELEMUNDO, UNIVISION 32.5 37,185,000 52,373,000 Obama
1/28/2008 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, TELEMUNDO^, UNIVISION 24.7 27,702,000 37,515,000 G.W Bush
1/23/2007 ABC, CBS, FOX**, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, TELEMUNDO**, UNIVISION ** 29.6 32,968,000 45,486,000 G.W. Bush
1/31/2006 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC 26.9 29,578,000 41,699,000 G.W. Bush
  TELEMUNDO, AZTECA AMERICA, TELFUTURA, TELEMUNDO 8.4 950,000 1,480,000  
2/2/2005 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC 25.2 27,699,000 38,382,000 G. W. Bush
  TELEMUNDO, TELEFUTURA 6 660,000 1,050,000  
1/20/2004 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, CNBC, FOXNC, MSNBC 28 30,286,000 43,411,000 G. W. Bush
1/28/2003 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, CNBC, FOXNC, MSNBC 38.8 41,447,000 62,061,000 G. W. Bush
1/29/2002 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, CNBC, FOXNC, MSNBC 33.6 35,547,000 51,773,000 G.W. Bush
2/27/2001* ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC 27.6 28,201,000 39,793,000 G.W. Bush
1/27/2000 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC 22.4 22,536,000 31,478,000 Clinton
1/19/1999 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC 31 30,700,000 43,500,000 Clinton
1/27/1998 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, CNBC, FOXNC, MSNBC 37.2 36,513,000 53,077,000 Clinton
2/4/1997 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN 28.4 27,600,000 41,100,000 Clinton
1/23/1996 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN 29.6 28,400,000 40,900,000 Clinton
1/24/1995 ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN 29.5 28,100,000 42,200,000 Clinton
1/25/1994 ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN 32.9 31,000,000 45,800,000 Clinton
2/17/1993* ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN 44.3 41,200,000 66,900,000 Clinton
Source: Nielsen

I wonder if Chris Matthews got a thrill up his leg when he saw the ratings?

The science is settled: Americans are tuning this colossal failure of a would-be president out.

Doug Ross @ Journal

Larwyn’s Linx: 6 reasons Mike Lee’s response to the State of the Union address was amazing

Send us tips! Bloggers: install a Larwyn’s Linx widget. Get real-time news, 24/7, at BadBlue.

Nation

6 reasons Mike Lee’s response to the State of the Union was amazing: Patrick Howley
ICE officer slams Obama for illegal aliens attending State of the Union: DC
The poison of postmodern lying: Victor Davis Hanson

GOP Crafts Plan to Wreck the Country, Lose Voters: Ann Coulter
Governing by Pen and Phone : Victor Davis Hanson
State of the Union 2014: Cal Thomas

Obama is right — there are two Americas: Bob Lonsberry
Eric Holder can’t explain constitutional basis for Obama’s executive orders: Exam
Bend Over, America: Paul Ryan Has an Amnesty Colonoscopy Ready!: Hot Air

Economy

IRA confiscation: it’s happening: Simon Black
Mitch McConnell, the Farm Bill and the Power of Logrolling: Daniel Horowitz
Barack Obama’s insidious master plan for the United States?: TPC

Incredible video! Black Chicago SOTU response: Allen West
Don’t dare tell me there are no barriers to hiring for small businesses: Thomas Crown
What does Obama really think has gone wrong with the US economy?: Peth

Scandal Central

Ted Cruz reams Eric Holder over handling of IRS investigation: Scoop
Theft of a Nation: Plan of the Day
Feds data-mining hundreds of millions of consumer credit card accounts, mortgages: Exam

Climate & Energy

Climate Change Is Dead Last On List Of American’s Priorities: Cove
Atlanta Is Basically An Episode Of “The Walking Dead” Right Now: BuzzFeed
Freak Southern Snow Storm Strands 8,000 Students: ABC

Media

Ted Cruz: Media Acting as ‘Palace Guard’ to Protect Obama in IRS Scandal: R.S. McCain
Fox Doubles MSNBC’s Ratings, Quadruples CNN’s: Ace
WaPo: You know, the official GOP response was, er … good: Hot Air

Mark Murray Was Right. Just Not How He Meant It: Erick Erickson
Dude, You Nailed It!: Ace
MSNBC Hits a New Low: GWP

Holder: I really, really wanted to publish photos of Sandy Hook slaughter to push gun control!: Jennifer Koons
Ted Cruz has some things to say about the State of the Union speech: Adrienne
Ben Affleck: ‘Big Republican’ Actors Are Hard to Watch: Larry Elder

World

Israeli Defense Official Offers Dark Security Assessment: IPT
U.S. Intel Chief Confirms North Korean Reactor Relaunch: Diane Barnes, GSN
Malik Obama Found To Be Supporting Muslims Who Kill Christians: Shoebat

Sci-Tech (courtesy BadBlue Tech News)

Coveted $ 50,000 Twitter username swiped in tale of woe: Don Reisinger
New Clues in the Target Breach: Brian Krebs
Apple looking to start producing new ‘critical’ sapphire component in U.S. by Feb.: Apple Insider

Cornucopia

SOTU Six: Ladders of Opportunity in 6840 Words (just words).: MOTUS
Obama’s High School Pot Dealer Murdered Over ‘Flatulence’: Bryan Preston
The Arrival: Chris Muir

Image: Incredible video! Black Chicago SOTU response
Today’s Larwyn’s Linx sponsored by: Send a pink slip to Mitch McConnell: support Matt Bevin for Senate

QOTD: “The University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database tracks terrorism incidents from 1970 to today: search for “Islam” and you find almost 5,000 entries. Search for “Christianity” and you will find a grand total of 14.

The NSA could probably save a lot of money — as well as abide by the Constitution — if it simply acknowledged the following:

A person with neither a first nor a last Muslim name stood only a 1 in 500,000 chance of being a suspected terrorist. The likelihood for a person with a first or a last Muslim name was 1 in 30,000. For a person with first and last Muslim names, however, the likelihood jumped to 1 in 2,000 (Levitt & Dubner, Super Freakonomics, 2009, p. 93).

Clearly, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, Islam is the world’s major ideological motivator of terrorism and violence. (I have neither the time, nor the patience, to yet again demonstrate the legitimate Islamic roots of violence. Ray Ibrahim’s brilliant article should be all the proof needed for those able to handle the truth.) Yet Eric Holder and his boss would have the federal authorities most responsible for protecting the public — led by the FBI — pretend that up is down, freedom is slavery, and Islam is peaceful except when “twisted” by a “handful of extremists.”

Instead of ardent Islamic beliefs being treated as a clear marker for potential terrorism, they are now a talisman protecting the holder not just from scrutiny, but suspicion.

Obama and Holder are transforming the U.S. into a dhimmi nation: one that cowers before Islamic law and demands that its non-Muslim citizens — especially its 240 million Christians — meekly accept their second-class status and never broach the glaringly obvious fact of Islamic violence, even if this means making all non-Muslims less safe. The question for those of us in the majority, then: just how long will we put up with such a dangerous policy?” –Timothy Furnish

Doug Ross @ Journal

25 Things President Obama is Guaranteed NOT to Mention During his State of the Union Speech

Kirk:

I bet he won’t mention any of these:

• Fast and Furious – gun-running to Mexican drug lords; investigation shut down by executive privilege.

• Benghazi – we don’t know: why the ambassador was there, who ordered military to stand down, what Obama did for 8 hours, who gave Susan Rice the video talking points, or why Hillary Clinton and Obama tried to perpetuate the lies

• IRS – used to target perceived enemies of the Obama agenda

• AP – no one held accountable for spying on the media

• James Rosen and his parents- Holder not held accountable for lying to Congress about his role in spying on a journalist and lying to a federal judge to obtain the secret warrant

• NSA data collection – massive, warrantless data collection… just in case they need it

• Clinton State Department shuts down investigation of criminal activity by employees

• James Clapper lies to congress about collecting data on American citizens

• EPA releases personal information on 80,000 farmers to environmental groups

• HHS Secretary Sebelius shakes down companies to help fund the failing ObamaCare, violating the Hatch Act

• Military members told what book they can’t read, chaplains can’t talk about God

• Lavish IRS parties at taxpayer expense

• Lavish GAO parties at taxpayer expense

• Lavish Veterans Administration parties at taxpayer expense

• Fort Hood called “workplace violence”, shooter still collecting paychecks

• Pigford – redistributing taxpayer money to minorities

• Solyndra – money pays back Obama bundlers, bankruptcy held until after the 2010 election

• Ex-EPA chief Lisa Jackson uses fake email account for government business, other suspected

• New Black Panthers not prosecuted by Holder

• Obama doesn’t get Congressional approval before attacking Libya

• Executive order by Obama to legalize “Dreamers”

• Obama decides what laws will be enforced – Defense of Marriage Act, legalizing illegals

• NLRB board appointment ruled unconstitutional but they are still working

• Gibson Guitars – illegal seizure of the company’s private property

• EPA using drones to spy on farmers

• John Corzine – MF Global not prosecuted for mismanagement of investor funds and large losses

For that matter – where are the prosecutions for Bill Clinton’s Mortgage Meltdown?

Doug Ross @ Journal