While so much time and focus has been spent on the SEIU's Andy Stern and Anna Burger, their frequent visits to the White House, and their appointments on presidential task forces, very little attention has been paid to the SEIU's full-time guy inside the White House, White House Political Director and former SEIU New York boss Patrick Gaspard.
Gaspard served as national political director for much of Obama's general election campaign and was named deputy director of personnel for the transition effort. Prior to his work with Obama, Gaspard was the lead political operative for the 1199 branch of the Service Employees International Union, a huge and hugely influential union representing health care workers in New York. He spent the 2004 general election as the national field director for America Coming Together.
Recently, there's been some light shed on the SEIU's mole inside the White House that, not surprisingly, the mainstream media (MSM) has not picked up on.
Several weeks ago, Big Government blogger Kyle Olsen exposed the fact that, in 2009, the SEIU 1199 paid Gaspard $37,191. That's on top of the $74,552 that SEIU 1199 paid Gaspard in 2008.
Now, the unanswered question is: Why did the SEIU pay nearly $40,000 to the White House Political Director?
Keeping in mind that Gaspard spend much of 2008 on the Obama campaign, as well as from November 2008 through January 2009 working on Obama's transition, the SEIU can't really claim Gaspard was doing any SEIU work in 2009...or was he?
Is there any correlation?
This past Saturday, Politico's Ben Smith broke an intriguing story about SEIU's Andy Stern and Anna Burger having "advanced" talk" with Gaspard about taking over the SEIU as the number two person, to replace Anna Burger when she assumed Andy Stern's role upon his retirement.
The talks grew quite advanced: Stern and Burger spoke with George Gresham, the pivotal president of the union's largest local, New York's 1199, and offered him assurances not just that Gaspard would be given the number-two job, but that he would eventually succeed Burger as president, the sources said. Gresham indicated that he would throw his weight behind the slate.
Gaspard, who left the post of 1199 political director to take the same job on the Obama campaign, could well have pulled a united union behind Burger. Between the support of 1199 and the catch of a former senior White House official, it's unclear that a rival campaign would have developed.
"They started working on him in late January/early February to join her as Secretary Treasurer while Anna filled out the remainder of Andy's term," one of the sources said. "Their calculus was that he would never turn down the dream job -- President of SEIU -- and that this would lock in the votes for her because Gresham and [executive board member Gerald] Hudson would give her their votes since they are tight with Gaspard."
Another source said that while there was never an explicit promise of when Burger would hand over the reins to Gaspard, the promise of the presidency at some point was explicit.
Although the early leak of Stern's resignation from the SEIU supposedly squelched the triumvirate talks over who would run the SEIU, it was the internal mutiny against Burger taking over the SEIU helm that completely fried any chances that the
According to Smith's sources, Gaspard turned the offer down out of "loyalty" to the President. However, that too is questionable, since it appears there was already an underground campaign to keep Burger from taking Stern's position once he left.
Of course, it remains arguable whether the Obama administration's rules prohibiting aides from becoming lobbyists would restrict Gaspard from going back to the SEIU, especially since the rules against lobbying seem so
But, of course, you can learn all about this in the media...[When the starts doing its job.]
In the meantime, regardless of whether Mary Kay Henry or Anna Burger is running the purple behemoth, the SEIU still has its
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
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