The language of the story is fairly harsh:WASHINGTON — The FBI and the U.S. Labor Department are investigating prominent labor leader Andy Stern in their probe of corruption at the Service Employees International Union, according to two people who have been interviewed by federal agents. The two organized labor officials met with federal agents this summer to answer questions about a six-figure book contract that Stern landed in 2006 and his role in approving money to pay the salary of an SEIU leader in California who allegedly performed no work.
The Associated Press: FBI investigates prominent labor leader Andy SternThe disclosure about the federal inquiry of Stern — who abruptly resigned as president of the 2.2-million member SEIU in April — comes just weeks ahead of contentious congressional elections in which the union is spending an estimated $44 million to support its favored Democratic candidates.
Stern left his post two years before the end of his term, saying he wanted to focus more on his personal life. He remains a member of President Barack Obama's deficit commission and a highly influential figure in the White House, where he was one of the most frequent visitors last year. He is also a research fellow at Georgetown University and a paid consultant for the SEIU.
Stern has argued that there's nothing there:
That's a pretty comprehensive denial.But controversy over what Simon & Schuster division paid Stern for his 2006 book A Country that Works date back to the SEIU's bitter legal battle -- which it pretty much won -- with a California splinter group. SEIU says it's unaware of any investigation, and Stern -- in a statement just now through the union -- flatly denied any investigation.
""The stories appearing today in the L.A. Times and the on AP are simply false. I have absolutely no reason to believe, and not the slightest indication, that I am being investigated by federal authorities with respect to Alejandro Stephens, or A Country That Works, or for that matter anything else," he said.
Stern's book deal - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com