NALC Truth Page

I worked at NALC HQ for 13 years. I loved my job, and I was good at it. I lost my job because I spoke the truth when I told NALC’s membership that NALC’s national officers were making under-the-table payments to themselves.

Over the past 23 years I’ve been speaking the truth to federal courts about the under-the-table payments. The courts have found everything I’ve said about the payments to be true. The courts have also found that NALC’s national officers lied to the membership about the payments in statements made at national conventions.

On the NALC Truth Page I post the truth. If you want to see evidence that supports a post, just ask.

Not everything posted on the NALC Truth Page is true. That’s because several Rolando/Renfroe trolls/surrogates have taken up residence and they liberally spread disinformation. Included among the trolls are Horace A Lewis, Kenny Montgomery, and Andrew Petersen.

While I hold to the truth, the trolls favor dishonesty. They seem to have been coached by NALC’s attorneys in the law of defamation. I won a defamation judgment against ex-NALC president Bill Young in January when a Maryland jury found that Young had intentionally lied about me in a campaign video he posted on YouTube in support of Fred Rolando’s re-election bid in 2014. To avoid getting nailed the way Young was, Lewis, Montgomery, and Petersen shy away from making direct statements, and concentrate on asking questions that imply, rather than express. Rather than argue facts, they are content to smear. Watch them in action. You’ll be amused.

My suit about the under-the-table payments is heating up. Briefs will be filed soon, and a decision will come within a couple of months after that. I will be posting the briefs and the decision on the NALC Truth Page — Exhibits.

While the action heats up, the Rolando/Renfroe troll team will likely repeat a lie they’ve been circulating for 23 years: They will say that I cost the union millions of dollars in legal fees by bringing my suit. That’s false.

When I filed my lawsuit in 1994 I named 13 officers as defendants. Under the law, and under NALC’s constitution, officers may not use union funds or union lawyers to defend themselves in suits alleging breach of trust. The 13 officers retained the services of four lawyers from the firm of O’Donghue & O’Donghue. The first action those lawyers took was to file a motion asking the court to order me to add NALC as a defendant. In my opposition to the motion I argued that the union was not an appropriate defendant in a suit charging officers with financial wrong-doing.

The court granted the motion and ordered me to sue the union, too. That brought NALC’s pricey lawyers into the case and has made them rich defending the right of NALC’s officers to make secret payments to themselves. It is true, therefore, that the suit has cost millions, but not because of anything I did. The responsibility for saddling the membership with the cost of their defense rests on the officers (including Bill Young) who requested the court to order me to add NALC as a defendant. I’m not to blame. –David Noble

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Senate votes to eliminate Obama-era retirement rule

© Greg Nash
A resolution eliminating an Obama-era regulation aimed at boosting retirement accounts for low-income workers is headed to President Trump’s desk after a Senate vote on Thursday.

Senators by a 50-49 margin approved the House-passed resolution, which rolls back a rule meant to encourage a state’s “political subdivisions,” like cities and counties, to create retirement plans for private-sector workers whose employers do not offer their own retirement plans.

The Obama rule would have exempted the city-run accounts from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, a law that outlines rules for workplace savings. Supporters argue the move would make it easier for cities to set up the accounts.

Republicans blasted the regulation, which the Employees Benefits Security Administration rolled out late last year as an extension of a broader proposal that allows states to create the retirement plans.

“Under the guise of helping more people save for the future, it undercut a system of private retirement savings that has served millions of Americans very well for decades,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “The end result would be more government at the expense of the private sector.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the chairman of the Finance Committee, added that the rule imposed “conflicting and burdensome mandates on private-sector businesses.”

Democrats, arguing the country faces a “retirement crisis,” pressed to keep the rule in place. They have stressed that states need more flexibility to help low-income workers save for retirement.

“For too many working people, saving for retirement isn’t automatic or easy. It seems out of reach, but we can’t let that stand,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) from the Senate floor.

Seven states have taken a steps toward creating programs under the Obama-era rule, and Democrats noted that another 23 states are currently considering the program.

The House passed a separate resolution last month that would also nix the Obama-era provision for state governments. That resolution hasn’t received a vote in the Senate.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) accused Republicans of trying to hurt working-class Americans, saying since the beginning of the year they “haven’t put up for a vote … a single piece of original legislation to help working families.”

“For years, the Republican-controlled Congress has done nothing to help the 55 million Americans who don’t have an employer-provided retirement plan,” she said.

GOP lawmakers are using the Congressional Review Act to undo regulations implemented late in Obama’s tenure by a simple majority.

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Bill requiring asset test for food-stamp recipients heads to WV House

 

The state Senate has passed a bill that would, among other things, require an asset test for food-stamp recipients. Senate bill 60 has been referred to the House Health committee and then to House Judiciary committee.

The bill would limit assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to households with less than $2,000 in assets or $3,000 for households with elderly and disabled people.

The asset test would take into account a household’s bank account, lottery and gambling income, cash, real estate, and personal property.

Exceptions would be made for retirement accounts, one vehicle and the household’s primary residence and surrounding lot, according to the legislation.

The Senate passed the bill Tuesday afternoon with 21 voting in favor, 12 opposed and one senator absent.

Sen. Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, the lead sponsor of the bill, told the Gazette-Mail earlier this month that he doesn’t want to eliminate food assistance for people who actually need it. The goal of the bill is to “ferret” out those who don’t need it, he said.

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In urging the bill’s passage Tuesday, Gaunch told the Senate he wants to preserve valuable federal dollars for those in West Virginia who need it the most.

Opponents of the bill say it would punish poor people for attempting to save money and would further perpetuate the cycle of poverty in West Virginia.

In the Mountain State, around 350,000 residents or one in five people are on SNAP at any given time, said Seth DiStefano, campaign manager for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a progressive think tank. The bill would require an asset test not only for the SNAP recipient, but for every member of the person’s household, DiStefano said. The bill would especially hurt seniors, who have worked their whole lives and saved money, but in retirement are relying on Social Security and food stamps, he said. The bill would require them to spend down their savings or be in eligible for food assistance.

“We will not break the cycle of poverty by passing laws that discourage people from saving money,” he said.

DiStefano said the only food stamp fraud he’s aware of has been on the side of retailers, not beneficiaries. The bill does nothing to cut back on retail food stamp fraud, he said. He cited a recent case in Huntington, where the owners of a gas station are accused of exchanging cash for a portion of the value of at least $5,000 in SNAP benefit cards, the Herald-Dispatch reported.

“There’s nothing in the bill that deals with the provider side,” DiStefano said. “Nothing at all. It all comes down on the people.”

Another section of the bill allows the Department of Health and Human Resources to contract with a third-party vendor to develop a system to verify income, assets and eligibility of those who apply for public assistance, including SNAP, Medicaid and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). The bill says the vendor should save the state more money than it costs it or the contract for the system should not be renewed, essentially ensuring that the vendor would need to eliminate enough people from the public assistance to cover the cost of its contract, he said.

DiStefano said besides the budget bill, SB60 would affect the most amount of people.

“People need to be paying attention,” he said.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1240 or follow @LoriKerseyWV on Twitter.

 

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