Specter, unions & Blank Rome LLPBy Bill Allison Apr 30 2009 8:12 p.m.
Just a thought about Sen. Arlen Specter's shift to the Democratic party:
In March, Specter withdrew support from the Employee Free Choice Act, the controversial "card check" bill which many labor unions list as their top legislative priority (he was the only Republican in the Senate to support the bill in a cloture vote in the last Congress, according to this newsletter from Blank Rome LLP--more on them in a moment). In his party-switching statement, Specter pointedly referred to his opposition to card check as an example of his ongoing independence.
Ron Moore, writing at a labor union site, notes that Specter's top career donor is the law firm of Blank Rome LLP, which has a fairly broad-based practice which includes everything from lobbying for the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (which would toll and have its authority respected over one of the Alaskan bridges to nowhere), representing parties before the International Trade Commission, closing local real estate deals, advising health care information technology firms on securing venture capital, and representing a foreign government. While it's probably unfair to characterize Blank Rome LLP as a "union busting law firm," they do list union avoidance as one of the services their specialists in employment law offer.
Will Specter buck his top contributor on card check? In fairness, it's entirely possible that passing card check could end up meaning booming business for Blank Rome LLP -- from the above linked Blank Rome newsletter:
Blank Rome Government Relations professionals and members of the Employment, Benefits and Labor group are monitoring developments on this issue closely. We are available to assist both existing and potential clients with an understanding as to how the Employee Free Choice Act may affect your company and its business objectives.
Will union PACs get out their checkbooks for Specter? Will Specter need their money (he's got a pretty hefty $6.7 million in the bank). And how long will we have to wait until Senate campaigns digitally file their campaign finance reports, so I can answer such questions without wading through 583 pages of raw filings at the FEC Web site?
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