Aggressive auditing

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Henry Farrell relays the latest attack on organized labor:

The [Financial Times] reports (sub required) that the US administration is planning to “toughen its regulation of organised labour, in what critics see as the latest in a series of pro-business policies sweeping Washington.” It’s invoking powers that haven’t been used in decades to force unions to file detailed financial statements and increase “accountability and transparency.” This isn’t an effort to further the interests of union members; it’s the beginning of a quite deliberate attempt to cripple unions as political actors.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a FT subscription, but reading through Henry’s summary, the specific measures listed here don’t necessarily seem objectionable on the merits. Detailed financial statements sound like a good thing. So does increased accountability and transparency. What’s troubling, however, is that the administration seems to be focusing solely on unions, with senior officials expressing “concern” that “some [labor] campaigns against big business were not always in the interests of members.” Meanwhile, is anyone in the White House planning to crack down on “accountability and transparency” at the Chamber of Commerce, or the NRA? Doesn’t seem like it. So there’s no reason to think the White House is pursuing these moves out of a sudden interest in promoting good governance—especially coming from a party whose spiritual leaders were openly bragging about dismantling organized labor before the 2004 election.

UPDATE: David Sirota nicely recounts the long history of the administration’s attacks on labor unions.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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