This must be part of the New Transparency of the Obama administration. When the political director for a White House gets $40,000 from the SEIU, which does significant lobbying on policy to both the White House and Congress, that should get declared in order for people to know just how much reach that special interest has within the halls of power. Instead, Patrick Gaspard never disclosed it until Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) flagged it in a letter to the White House:
President Barack Obama’s political director failed to disclose that he was slated to receive a nearly $40,000 payout from a large labor union while he was working in the White House.
Patrick Gaspard, who served as the political director for the Service Employees International Union local 1199, received $37,071.46 in “carried over leave and vacation” from the union in 2009, but he did not disclose the agreement to receive the payment on his financial disclosure forms filed with the White House.
In a section on his financial disclosure where agreements or arrangements for payment by a former employer must be disclosed, Gaspard checked a box indicating that he had nothing to report.
In other words, Gaspard lied. There is really no other explanation. How many of us would “forget” a pending payout of $40,000, especially if we had between $35K-80K in credit card and student loan debt, as Politico notes in its report? The question on the form is specific, and the notion that Gaspard simply forgot about it is absurd.
The White House promised that Gaspard made the “small administrative change” in an update to his disclosure as soon as they were aware of it:
“We have made the small administrative change to this year’s and last year’s forms to indicate that part of the final payment to Patrick reflected their typical severance of one week of pay for each of his nine years of service at Local 1199 of SEIU,” Burton wrote POLITICO in an e-mailed statement.
Yes, it certainly was a “small administrative change” that suddenly disclosed a $40,000 payment to the political director of the White House from a major organization supporting Obama and his agenda. I’m sure no one questions why the SEIU’s lobbyist had so much money coming to him after his decision to join the Obama administration. And how convenient it was that Gaspard got severance pay for quitting the SEIU job to join Obama’s team, especially with all of that debt. I’m also sure that the omission of this payment on disclosure forms had nothing to do with avoiding those questions.
After all, this is the New Transparency — opacity and corruption.