Washington Prowler

The White House and Wisconsin

It's all about union reelection money for 2012. Also: Huckabee. Countywide.

By 2.21.11

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A BINDING CONTRACT
The White House has been watching the Wisconsin state employee labor fight with a degree of alarm, says a White House aide: "I think all of us recognize what this could mean for us in the re-election fight," says the aide. "Without well financed labor, we're screwed."

For several weeks, now, the Obama Administration, with staff from the Labor Department and Department of Education, among others, have been setting up working groups to examine how, if at all, they could block or reverse in some way state-based rules and laws that would draw back labor unions' abilities to collect chunks of member pay for political purposes on the state and national level.

In fact, some political advisers to President Barack Obama have been speaking with senior national labor officials about the roles they might play in the re-election bid. Says the aide: "One way to strengthen labor's position and get them politically engaged for us is through contract negotiations, and there are several, large contracts coming due in 2011 and 2012. Corporations may think they can push these unions around because of the economic situation, but we're looking for ways to ensure that if organized labor wants to fight, they will be able to fight. That can only help us politically."

HUCK STIR
A number of California conservatives have been noting an uptick in direct mail fundraising from former Arkansas diet guru and Gov. Mike Huckabee. "I've received at least three different fundraising appeals from him in the past few weeks, and not a one from anyone else," said one. Some are interpreting the increased activity as a run-up to a Huckabee decision to run for president again after his failure in 2008, and Huckabee has been active, with plans to visit Iowa in the near future.

COUNTRYWIDE CRONIES
Word that federal prosecutors have dropped a criminal investigation into Angelo R. Mozilo, the former CEO of Countrywide Financial, which was alleged to have given senior government officials, such as former Sen. Chris Dodd, and other influential Democrats in Washington sweetheart mortgage loans, shouldn't make Washington insiders breathe any easier.

Word is that even if the criminal probe is shut down, at least two different Congressional committees want to keep the investigation alive, and one, the House Financial Services Committee, may want to bring back several of those current and former government officials to testify on how it was they got their deals from an institution that is now part of Bank of America.

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