Giving Tony Soprano a Pass

There were so many great things about "The Sopranos," from how their family problems mirrored the problems facing many American families to how the Mob controlled many union work sites. In many ways, it was more than just fiction.

When the Mob controls union work sites, the guys who get the short end of the stick are the union workers. That means they have to work twice as hard to make up for the mobster no-shows. When the Mob pilfers a union fund, the union workers get screwed, because they lose the money. Labor corruption hurts all of us, but it especially hurts the workingmen and -women who are part of the union movement. 
The Democratic Party likes to pride itself as the party of the working man. Labor union members give their money, their energy, their passion to the Democrats by an overwhelming percentage. And the Democrats say they want to help the working class. They show their love for the union by greatly increasing the size, scope and cost of just about every government program.

Except for one. The Democrats want to slash the $47 million budget of the Office of Labor Management Standards, the government agency in charge of rooting out corruption in the labor movement, by $2 million. These are the guys who go after the Tony Sopranos of the world. They indict the pension fund cheats. They prosecute the guys who are ripping off the union guys.

The Office of Labor Management Standards has referred cases to U.S. attorneys, resulting in the conviction of more than 775 union cheats, netting more than $70 million to union members through restitution. That extraordinary record has come under the scrutiny of House Democrats who don’t like what they see.

Democrats like to talk about the Republican culture of corruption. But if they really cared about cleaning up corruption, they would allow the Office of Labor Management Standards to its job.

I liked to watch Tony Soprano work as much as the next guy, but only because he was on television. I don’t think the Congress should give the real Tony Sopranos of the world a pass. The best way to help union workers in this country is to stop the corruption, and the best way to end the corruption is to fully fund the Office of Labor Management Standards.

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