Big Labor has a new lobbying firm for hire in Washington, D.C., and it’s run by a former Republican congressional staffer.
McCarthy Advanced Consulting (MAC) is a new firm created by Frank McCarthy, a labor and transportation lobbyist whose background includes work as a senior lobbyist for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) on behalf of the D.C.-based Keelen Group.
For context, NATCA is a member of the gargantuan labor union conglomerate AFL-CIO and a major Democratic Party donor. The Center for Responsive Politics ranks the group the 82nd largest political contributor in the 2016 election, spending an estimated $2.6 million alone on two PACs that supported presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senate Democrats, and nearly $28.4 million in contributions since 1990, mostly to Democrats.
According to federal disclosure filings, McCarthy’s new client list includes a number of huge labor unions, some of whom are also listed as lobbying clients with his former employer, the Keegen Group. The most prominent of these are the:
The Teamsters and UBC are founding members of the Change to Win Coalition, an alternative to the AFL-CIO that levies union organizing campaigns against major corporations. Together with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the main funder the Fight for $15 minimum wage push, they form a wealthy and powerful bloc responsible for massive unionization efforts against Wal-Mart, CVS Pharmacy, and the uniform and laundry giant Cintas.
AFGE has been described as the most corrupt union in America. Eleven AFGE officials pled guilty to or were convicted of corruption charges in the first eight months of 2017 alone. According to federal data provided by the Center for Union Facts, AFGE officials have been charged with criminal conduct 115 times between June 2001 and October 2016, while 96 were sentenced over a similar period. The AFGE was at the heart of the 2014 Department of Veterans Affairs scandal, wherein it was discovered that VA employees had covered up the deaths of thousands of veterans caught in multi-month service wait times in part because they were working full-time for the union, a practice called “official time.” Five AFGE officials later pled guilty or were indicted after the scandal broke.
The unions represented by McCarthy are all major supporters of Democratic political candidates and lobbying heavyweights. According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics for the 2016 election cycle, the Teamsters spent over $4.9 million, the AFGE some $5.95 million, and NALC roughly $4.25 million in political contributions – mainly to PACs supporting Hillary Clinton and Democrats.
McCarthy’s client list is all the more interesting considering his past as a staffer for politically moderate Republican members of Congress: Bud Shuster (Pennsylvania), Don Young (Alaska), and Sue Kelly (New York).
With the possibility of a major infrastructure bill in the near future, though, he wouldn’t be the first lobbyist angling for money from transportation unions – whatever their scruples.