Earlier this week, I appeared on Fox Business Network's Follow the Money with Eric Bolling to discuss a story we've been following here at Townhall:
Here's my original post on the matter, and this is the Mackinac Center report I referenced in the segment -- indicating that at least two powerful Republican State Senators are working behind the scenes with Democrats and their Big Labor overlords to protect this outrageous racket:
Among the documents, emails indicate that Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Twp., was particularly focused on maintaining MQCCC. The MQCCC was created in 2005 through an interlocal agreement between the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Tri-County Aging Consortium. The council kept a registry of home care providers, but its main function was to be the so-called government “employer” for some 45,000 private home care aides. Through this arrangement, these independent contractors were compelled to become dues-paying members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. The union has had a collective bargaining agreement with the MQCCC since 2006, collecting $6 million in annual dues from Medicaid subsidies paid to the home care providers. The council effectively runs the program for SEIU and passes the union dues from the state to the union.
The Mackinac Center recently learned from the council’s executive director that even though the MQCCC would no longer be funded this year and would soon close its doors, MQCCC officials believed the collective bargaining agreement would remain “in force between us and the union.” A copy of the agreement shows a Nov. 15, 2012, expiration date. That prompted a Mackinac Center inquiry into what was happening behind the scenes that would keep a defunded government entity operating.
Among documents obtained from the Michigan Department of Community Health were more than three dozen emails from between April 5 and Sept. 13 discussing ways to keep the agency afloat. The biggest champion of creative financing for the council appeared to be Sen. Kahn. According to the documents attained by the Mackinac Center, Sen. Kahn began by proposing an above-the-board supplemental appropriation for the MQCCC. When this was rejected by the House, he suggested hiding the funding by avoiding an explicit designation identifying what it was for or putting the amount into another budget entirely. When those attempts failed, Sen. Kahn proposed taking five cents per hour from each health care provider to allow the continued existence of the faux employer, which would allow the union to keep collecting millions of dollars in annual dues.
Read the whole thing for details on the Republican Senate Majority Leader's role in this. One final note: I believe the name of the organization may be pronounced "Mackinaw," but I'm unsure. Perhaps the Michiganders in our audience can set me straight.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography