By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
FAIRFAX — In a supposed “voter protection effort,” a labor union sought the names of Virginia citizens who had requested voter lists from Fairfax County.
The Service Employees International Union asked for the names through the Freedom of Information Act. But Fairfax County officials rejected the request.
“We did not provide any names,” general registrar Cameron Quinn told Watchdog.org on Thursday. “We had real concerns about privacy.”
The SEIU probe in the Northern Virginia County is part of a national campaign targeting the election-watch group, True the Vote.
The effort started with U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., demanding that the Houston-based organization open its books and detail its operations. His seven-page letter accused the group of pursuing an agenda of voter suppression and intimidation — allegations that TTV strenuously denies.
Virginia Voters Alliance is informally aligned with True the Vote, and SEIU also asked for “all documents, records and information received from True the Vote or Virginia Voters Alliance.”
Quinn rebuffed that request as well.
Alvin Velazquez, a union official, wrote in a Sept. 12 letter to the Fairfax County Board of Elections that the SEIU requests were part of a “review (of) relevant records to assess election administration issues.”
Quinn said her office supplied basic voter information, with personal data redacted, but did not divulge the names of representatives of either vote group.
Quinn said she had heard nothing from SEIU since its original request.
State Board of Elections Deputy Director Justin Riemer said his office received no request for information from the union.
Velazquez did not respond to phone messages and e-mails left by Watchdog.org.
Reagan George, president of Virginia Voters Alliance, was not available for comment, but TTV President Catherine Engelbrecht told Watchdog.org:
“It’s alarming to learn that SEIU is demanding the release of government documents with the express purpose of intimidating private citizens who are exercising their rights as voters,” she said.
“As we’ve already seen with the AFL-CIO in Florida, these organizations are not above publicly threatening voters who have spoken out on the importance of election integrity. These efforts must be exposed for what they are — union-sanctioned attempts to terrorize Americans fighting for free and fair elections,” Engelbrecht said.
Now SEIU is turning up the heat on Engelbrecht’s Texas group.
In an Oct. 17 letter to the Internal Revenue Service, the union asked that agency to deny TTV’s application for tax-exempt status.
Judith Scott, general counsel of the Washington, D.C.-based union, said TTV “attempts to influence political campaigns and engages in excessive lobbying.”
SEIU itself is unabashedly partisan.
Mary Kay Henry, international president, recently said, “SEIU members continue to knock doors, make calls and do whatever it takes to make sure President Obama and other champions for the 99 percent win on Nov. 6.
An investigation by the Daily Caller revealed that SEIU — the fastest growing labor union in the country — has spent more than $28 million to help get Obama re-elected.
SEIU has 2.1 million members nationally, but has a small presence in Virginia, with two locals in Fairfax and Alexandria.
Contact Kenric Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or (571) 319-9824.