The SEIU Union Executive Director has resigned and is charged with tax fraud, embezzlement, perjury, and failure to pay unemployment insurance taxes. The state Attorney General’s office filed its charges against Alma Hernández and her husband, Jose Moscoso, on Oct. 4 in Sacramento Superior Court. The SEIU is California’s largest union. According to the Sacramento Bee:

Alma Hernández

“Hernández, whose union represents over 700,000 workers across the state, had been in her position since 2016. She led the union’s push against recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom, with the organization donating more than $6 million to the campaign.

The union is also a major player in the Capitol, pushing for policies such as a $15 minimum wage. It represents local government employees, state workers, in-home caregivers, lecturers, janitors, and health and care professionals, among others.”

The press release from Attorney General Bonta’s office, Hernández, and her husband “filed false joint income tax returns when they underreported $1,427,874 of income to the FTB for tax years 2014 through 2018. The couple is alleged to owe $143,483 in unpaid income tax.” The Press release also stated:

“The California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Investigation began looking into the married couple after an investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) revealed Hernandez, who was the Executive Director of SEIU California, allegedly embezzled money from an SEIU California-sponsored political action committee (PAC). The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) uncovered alleged underreporting of Hernandez’s and Moscoso’s income from 2014 to 2019. The Employment Development Department (EDD) also identified that Moscoso’s air duct cleaning business allegedly failed to report employees’ wages from 2017 to 2020.”

Additionally:

“Hernandez previously served as the treasurer of the Working Families for Solorio for Senate 2014 PAC. The complaint alleges that in October 2014, two checks totaling $11,700 were approved by Hernandez and issued by the PAC’s bank account to Moscoso for services he did not provide.

According to court documents, wrote the Attorney General’s office, Moscoso allegedly did not disclose to EDD that he employed multiple individuals to work in his air duct cleaning business, resulting in more than $300,000 in unreported wages. Additionally, from 2017 through 2020, Moscoso allegedly failed to file quarterly reports with EDD and failed to pay more than $16,000 in employment taxes.

Hernandez faces two counts of grand theft, one count of perjury, and five counts of filing a false income tax return with intent to evade. Moscoso is also charged with five counts of filing a false income tax return with intent to evade, one count of failure to file a report with the Employment Development Department, one count of failure to pay unemployment insurance and training tax, one count of failure to pay disability insurance, one count of failure to file employment tax returns with intent to evade paying taxes, and one count of failure to collect and pay personal income tax. 

Both Hernandez and Moscoso are charged with a special allegation of aggravated white-collar crime with loss of over $100,000.”

According to Attorney Timothy Snowball with the Freedom Foundation, the real story is that it is a “larger systemic problem than Alma Hernández.”

Union people like Hernández often line their pockets with union worker dues to fund their lifestyles and pet projects like the SEIU’s support of Gavin Newsom to help him fight his recall. TV Ads were funded with union dues and plastered repetitively on networks to fight his recall.

UncoverDC spoke with Attorney Snowball by phone on Tuesday. He explained:

“Every single commercial break on regular TV, there was an anti-recall commercial. So, it’s just through pure attrition when the public sees these anti-recall or whatever political position commercials all over the networks over a three or four-week period. People just get broken down and decide they aren’t going to vote because it’s a foregone conclusion.

“When you look at the amount of spending that public-sector labor unions put into that race, there’s no way that Republicans in California are ever going to be able to make any kind of headway—as long as these labor unions have this guaranteed stream of income that they’re going to be sending to Democratic politicians in order bolster their chances in whatever endeavor they might pursue. The entire system is a corrupt cycle where you have the unions collecting approximately a billion dollars a year from their members.

A lot of that money is then turned around and given to politicians like Gavin Newsom, who then enacts laws and regulations benefiting the unions, making it harder for people to exercise their First Amendment rights. That cycle will continue in perpetuity unless the people of California wake up and realize what is happening.”

Snowball commented on the Freedom Foundation and how it is helping to keep people informed:

“Many people do not seem to be connecting the dots, and Freedom Foundation exists to help them do that. We are a bi-partisan non-profit. But we want people to be informed.”

According to Snowball, the Freedom Foundation has been the only organization in California to make “any kind of impact” concerning unions and informed consent for workers in the public sector. “The Foundation has been documenting and talking about these abuses quite a long, long time,” referring to the Hernandez charges.

Concerning the charges brought against Hernández, Attorney Snowball commented:

“This is big. I wish I could say that this kind of thing was a surprise to us. Unfortunately, it’s just confirmation of the kind of malfeasance and fraudulent activities happening on behalf of SEIU that we’ve seen for years.

Our hope would be that people, maybe someone on the fence about their further support of SEIU, would look at the situation like this, and it would be kind of the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of the willingness to give these people their money.

It is important to know that the SEIU in California was one of the main contributors to Governor Newsom’s anti-recall campaign. The SEIU gave something like $6 million to the effort to protect him. 

So it is interesting that the Attorney General’s office would turn around and now be prosecuting Alma Hernández. I think that just goes to show you know how overwhelming the evidence of fraud and embezzlement was on her behalf— that even someone appointed by one of her political allies— is the one who’s having to step in now and prosecute her. The personal fraud on behalf of Hernandez is part of a larger pattern and practice of illegal activities on behalf of the SEIU— writ large.”

He emphasized that the union has an enormous hold on workers and often without their informed consent. Dues are deducted from their salaries, and those dues go to paying for things, including funding pet projects and political activities—or lining the bosses’ pockets. In most cases, the individual employee has no knowledge whatsoever of how their dues are being spent.

“The way that this works—especially with regard to membership fees— is someone starts a job as a public employee here in California or elsewhere. They are handed a stack of materials on their first day at work. In that stack of papers is a union membership card.

Now people are either led to believe that these cards or things they need to fill out must be completed as a condition of employment. It is not explained to them what it is. In fact, in many cases, someone from the SEIU will come in and actually put coercive pressure on people to sign these cards. People sign them without any explanation of what they’re signing— without—in many cases—even taking a look at it or reading it.

So the worker just signs it, and then—all of a sudden—there’s money coming out of each of their paychecks ranging anywhere from $40 to $60 a paycheck. That money is then taken and pooled and then sent to the SEIU, who then takes that money and spends it on political campaigns like the effort to protect Gavin Newsom without people even knowing what their money is being spent for.”

Unfortunately, the workers who have signed off on the paycheck deductions cannot easily change their minds. The union has boxed them in, in such a way, that they can only opt-out of the deductions during certain opt-out periods—usually amounting to a two-week window of time. Many have no idea when those occur and, if they miss the window, it is “just tough luck for them.”

Snowball also explained that the push to keep workers in the dark runs deep—even involving legislation and bucking Supreme Court decisions such as the Janus Right to Work case. The Janus case was a landmark “Right to Work” protections case for workers who wished to opt out of annual union dues.

“Obviously, the unions are acting unconstitutionally or illegally when they’re taking people’s money without their consent and spending it on politics. By the way, taking money without a worker’s consent violates the Supreme Court decision on the Janus case from 2018 that said you can’t do that. So the unions are thumbing their nose at U.S. Supreme Court.”

Adding insult to injury was the 2018 legislation in the form of SB866. Snowball explained:

“So, there were a series of statutes that were signed into law in 2018. They happened to be on the very same day as the Janus case was decided in 2018. Former Governor Jerry Brown signed a series of statutes—SB866—that basically make it illegal for public employers to communicate with their employees about the Janus case and about their First Amendment rights.

The timing on that is no coincidence. That whole bill was ready to be signed in the case that the Democrats and their union allies lost the Janus case. They had that thing ready to go and as soon as the Supreme Court decided that case, they signed this series of statutes into law.

So now, in California, there is a communication barrier between workers and their employers in regards to their preferences for these payments or their First Amendment rights pursuant to the Janus case.

So a big part of what the Freedom Foundation does is to go out and try to educate people and do outreach with people—to at least let them know—hey, if you want to stay in the union and you want to keep making these payments, that’s fine. But we want to at least put you on notice that it is your decision and that you don’t have to make these payments or have them spend your money on political causes unless you consent to them doing that.”