SEIU ensnared in political corruption case involving Gov. Blagojevich

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Skilled nursing providers and inpatient rehab facilities offer clashing views on Medicare payments
Skilled nursing providers and inpatient rehab facilities offer clashing views on Medicare payments

The Service Employees International Union, the largest union for healthcare workers, was named in a federal criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) last week.

The ill-reputed Illinois governor has recently been charged in connection with attempting to trade President-elect Obama's now vacant Senate seat for personal financial gain. Blagojevich allegedly tried to initiate a three-way scheme in which the SEIU would try to publicly persuade the governor to name Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett to the vacant senate seat. In exchange, according to federal charges, Blagojevich would convince Obama to assist the SEIU with its legislative agenda, and Blagojevich would be given a $300,000 per year job with the union.

The Illinois branch of the SEIU points out that the federal complaint against Blagojevich does not accuse the union of any wrongdoing. It also notes that the post Blagojevich is alleged to have sought in the organization is not a paying one, and that its current occupant draws her salary from her job within the union. The SEIU, which represents thousands of nursing home workers, was the top financial contributor to both the Obama presidential campaign and the Blagojevich 2006 gubernatorial re-election campaign.

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