Obama’s Department of Labor used federal taxpayer resources to help re-elect him — Media Trackers


From Media Trackers:

A Democrat activist and founder of pro-Obama campaign committee “SWAAGG The Vote” gave a speech at the taxpayer-funded Cincinnati Job Corps Academy during the 2012 presidential race, public records obtained by the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) revealed. Partisan activity on Job Corps time is a violation of U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) policy.

“On August 13, 2012, Tim Sullivan, a representative of a non-partisan organization called SWAAGG the Vote, spoke with students at the Monday morning business meeting regarding registration and voting procedures,” a memo from Cincinnati Job Corps Academy leadership notified superiors in Chicago.

Sullivan, the leader of Stand With the African American Greater Good (SWAAGG), was a candidate for two Hamilton County Democratic Party positions in 2012 – and announced as much on the SWAAGG The Vote website last February.

A DOL spokesman who requested anonymity confirmed the accuracy of the memo regarding Sullivan’s speech at the Job Corps center. Federal Job Corps guidelines most recently updated in December 2012 state that “any assistance with voter registration must be conducted with nonpartisan entities free from party affiliation, bias, or designation.”

COAST noted that public records reveal Cincinnati City Council member Cecil Thomas, a Democrat, also visited Job Corps students as they were being bused to polling places during early absentee voting.

COAST chairman Tom Brinkman, Jr. denounced Job Corps coordination with partisan get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts, saying, “It is simply wrong to use our tax dollars to subsidize electoral activity. But it is even more pernicious when it is obvious that they are coordinating that activity with [D]emocrat activists.”

Tim Sullivan and SWAAGG The Vote openly supported President Obama throughout the 2012 campaign.

In January 2012, an update to the SWAAGG The Vote Facebook page called on fans to back President Obama’s reelection, directing supporters to the Hamilton County Democratic Party’s website.

In June, SWAAGG The Vote partnered with 1911 United, a national Super PAC devoted to Obama’s reelection, for multiple Cincinnati events.

In August, Sullivan and Job Corps students protested “voter suppression” at a Hamilton County Board of Elections meeting, indicating his political ties to the Cincinnati Job Corps Academy have not been limited to a single on-site event.

Accusing opponents of racism and voter suppression was a common tactic of the Obama campaign and independent progressive groups in Ohio throughout the summer and fall, as Media Trackers has previously reported.

On October 18, SWAAGG The Vote and 1911 United cosponsored a “concert & rally to re-elect President Obama” on the University of Cincinnati campus.

On November 1, Sullivan invited SWAAGG The Vote fans to a Democrat GOTV event. On November 6, SWAAGG The Vote hosted an election results watch party to “celebrate the re-election of President Barack Obama.”

Media Trackers sought comment from DOL on the documents shared by COAST and their revelation of Sullivan’s speech to Cincinnati Job Corps Academy students.

A DOL spokesman explained that the local Job Corps GOTV program developed with the “nonpartisan” Democratic Party activist was part of the center’s “duty to educate students on rights and responsibilities of voting, and to develop procedures to assist eligible students in registering and voting in local and national elections.”

According to DOL, Sullivan contributed to Cincinnati Job Corps Academy efforts to lead students “in an unbiased, non-partisan discussion about the registration process and voter’s rights.”

In addition to exposing partisan political coordination at the Cincinnati Job Corps Academy, COAST is currently involved in litigation against Cincinnati Public Schools over the alleged use of taxpayer resources for partisan purposes during the 2012 campaign.



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