Union leaders under fire for unregistered lobbying

Wendell Young IV spent plenty of time last year trying to convince lawmakers that privatizing Pennsylvania’s liquor stores wasn’t the correct move, yet the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 wasn’t registered as a lobbyist with the Department of State.

That fact caught the attention of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Harrisburg, after the right-leaning Media Trackers website reported on the issue earlier this week. It pounced on Young and other labor leaders who aren’t registered.

“This is the kind of arrogance that government union executives have toward the people of Pennsylvania and the law of the commonwealth,” Commonwealth Foundation President Matthew J. Brouillette said in a statement.

The issue might not be so cut and dry, even though Pennsylvania law defines lobbying as “an effort to influence legislative action or administrative action” and requires that lobbyists, lobbying firms or principals register with the state.

That’s because while someone’s actions could fall under the definition of lobbying, they don’t always have to register, thanks to exceptions in Pennsylvania’s lobbying law.

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