United Steel Workers President Leo Gerard joined Ed Schultz to talk about the mid-term elections and the foreign donations being received by the US Chamber of Commerce and other right wing groups who are refusing to disclose where their donations
October 18, 2010

United Steel Workers President Leo Gerard joined Ed Schultz to talk about the mid-term elections and the foreign donations being received by the US Chamber of Commerce and other right wing groups who are refusing to disclose where their donations are coming from. Gerard challenged the Chamber to open up their books in the same manner that the labor unions are required to.

SCHULTZ: Well, big labor is stepping up the fight and spending millions. These hard-working Americans know the Democrats are for the middle class and that the Republicans only care about the top two percent.

For more, let`s bring in Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers of America.

Mr. Gerard, this could be one of the last major speeches that Nancy Pelosi gives as speaker. Do you sense that she is very nervous about this election and the way it`s going for Democrats as far as the polling is concerned?

LEO GERARD: Ed, what I noticed is that she spoke to 1,200 working class women today, and as they say, she was fired up and ready to go. I didn`t sense any nervousness. What I sensed is determination.

The Speaker was very, very clear about her agenda, about creating jobs, about putting people back to work. And she went through each one of the issues where the Republicans had been the problem. And she did spend some time, although she didn`t spend all her time, but she did spend a fairly good piece of time about that foreign secret money that is in the elections, and it`s only being used to attack Democrats.

I think the clip that you played hits it right on the head. Why are they doing that? And she addressed that, and I was very proud of her.

SCHULTZ: Do you think, Mr. Gerard, that union support across the board, the Latino vote and the African-American vote in this country, the minority vote, can pull the Democrats through and maintain the majority? What do you think?

GERARD: I think that we can pull them through and maintain the majority, but in addition, Ed, I think that we have to challenge why these moneyed interests are putting this secret money in to attack Democrats. We have to make sure that we understand what the president said. And this is a choice.

I mean, just some of the clips you played earlier in the show, God help us if those kind of people take over our democracy. And if foreign money is flowing in, our democracy is being eroded by these special interests.

And so we`re going to work as hard as we could. The Speaker fired up 1,200 working class women from all over the country today.

Tomorrow night, after the session, they`re going out on the street, knocking on doors. They`re committed to going home to their districts, working for their candidates, pushing hard to make sure that we keep the best Speaker ever in the Speaker`s chair, and that`s Nancy Pelosi.

Ed, they passed over 400 bills in the House of Representatives. The overwhelming majority would be good for working families. They`ve been stalled by Republicans in the Senate.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Gerard, I want to ask you, because the right wing is throwing out all this conversation about how there`s foreign money in American unions, is that true?

GERARD: No, it`s baloney.

SCHULTZ: So they`re lying?

GERARD: It`s an out and out lie. Here`s what happens.

We`re an international union. We have members in both countries. The union dues that are paid in Canada stay in Canada. The union dues that are paid in the U.S. stay in the U.S.

But even without that, we`re not allowed by law to accept that kind of money. Our political action committees are moneys that are raised from our members, and we have to have a documented record that our members have agreed to commit that money. And I`ve said on this show and on other shows before, I challenge the Chamber of Commerce and those secret clubs that are putting foreign money into this election, I challenge them to come out and show us where their donations are coming from.

SCHULTZ: So, when every union in this country, whether it be your union, the Steelworkers, the AFL-CIO, or the Service Employers International Union, AFSCME, if an auditor were to go into the front office and say show me your books, you could detail out, the union`s could detail out exactly where every dime comes from and where every expenditure is, whereas the Chamber of Commerce can`t do that. Correct?

GERARD: Absolutely correct. Not only can we detail out, we have to submit a report.

We have to submit a report of where we got our money, who contributed, and how much they`re contributing. Our books are open. We`re prepared to show anybody.

But I want the Chamber of Commerce and I want these other secret clubs that have materialized in the last three months to do the same thing. Ed, I can`t begin to tell you how distressful it is to think that our democracy is being put up for sale.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, I challenge Frank Rich of "The New York Times" to do the damn story. You know, he`s insinuating that there`s foreign money in unions in this country.

Mr. Rich of "The New York Times," I hope you`re watching tonight. And I hope you follow up on an interview that I just did here.

You know, it is amazing to me how many lies there are and distortions in the media when it comes to the working folk of America. They just throw it out there. They just throw it out there.

GERARD: And I would invite him or anyone else that wants to see our donations. Our donations come from our members. We document every one of them.


GERARD: And so we know every member who`s donated and how much they`ve donated.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Gerard, keep up the fight. I appreciate your time tonight.

GERARD: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

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