Former SEIU boss Andy Stern “has gone from leading one of the nation’s largest unions to working on behalf of organized labor’s historic enemy, private equity,” according to reports. SEIU and its affiliated unions vigorously attacked private equity when Stern ran SEIU but now he’s taken a seat on the board of SIGA Technologies. High-flying financier Ron Perelman, whom Forbes ranks as one of the richest men in the world, and his private-equity company MacAndrews & Forbes, are SIGA’s largest shareholders.
This arguably creates a conflict of interest for Stern who serves on President Obama’s deficit commission. Stern was appointed to represent workers’ interests but now he has a personal financial interest in whatever fix the commission recommends. This is because SIGA is a biowarfare defense company. If the commission’s recommendations lead to savings, that money could be used for defense, which could benefit SIGA and Stern who has received 25,000 stock options for the company.
According to a report:
One of SIGA’s highest priorities is getting the Health and Human Services Department to grant SIGA a lucrative contract through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). SIGA now has the inside track on the contract, according to The Motley Fool’s Richard Duprey. Wall Street is watching the contract award process closely and Stern’s options stand to see a significant gain if the contract comes through.
Is Stern selling out or cashing in? Or both?
Stern has close ties to President Obama. He visited the White House at least 20 times last year. As Stephen Spruiell notes at NRO, “Stern has openly bragged about the SEIU’s $61 million investment in Barack Obama. It certainly bought him a lot of access.”