Koch Brothers Affiliated Anti-Union Group Wants Home Addresses of All PASSHE University Employees

In an email sent out to all Kutztown University employees earlier today, Gerald Silberman – the university’s Right to Know Officer and Vice President of Administration and Finance – informed employees that the group Pennsylvanian’s for Union Reform has sought the release of all the home addresses of university employees. According to Silberman, all home addresses of Kutztown University employees are “public records subject to disclosure” unless an employee can prove that the release of her or his home address will likely lead to substantial physical harm to that individual.

According to Silberman’s email, Pennsylvania’s Right to Know law mandates the release unless the employee can prove she or he qualifies for one of two exceptions:

That exception is stated as follows:
A record that disclosure of which would be reasonably likely to result in a substantial and demonstrable risk of physical harm to or the personal security of an individual.  65 P.S. §67.708(b)(1)(ii).
Another possible exception is that you are or reside with a law enforcement officer or judge.  That exception is stated as follows:
The following personal identification information: The home address of a law enforcement officer or judge.  65 P.S. §67.708(b)(6)(1)(C).

The email sent off a flurry of emails among campus employees concerned about the lack of privacy protections and concerns about potential harassment. PA law requires an employee to prove that the release will result in substantial or demonstrable risk of physical harm or personal security.  Presumably if an employee cannot provide evidence to prove her or his case, their home addresses will be released. However, Silberman stated that the home addresses of student workers will not be released based on the advise from PASSHE lawyers. It is unclear, as of this writing, what that specific legal advice was and how PASSHE lawyers have parsed the Right-to-Know law to exclude students who are employed by one of the state universities.

Kutztown University was not alone. At least two other PASSHE universities have received the same Right-to-Know requests.

The organization behind the request is Pennsylvanians for Union Reform, an anti-union group headed by the long-time, union-hating hit man, Simon Campbell. Campbell been at this kind of Right-to-Know data mining operation since he first founded “Stop Teacher Strikes” back in 2005 when he was a member of the Pennsbury School Board in Bucks County, PA. Wes Johnson documented some of Campbell’s antics in an article posted on an SEIU blog:

A Pennsylvanian resident named Simon Campbell is president of Stop Teacher Strikes, Inc., an anti-union operation targeting the public sector. He is also a key actor in the self-styled Pennsylvanians for Union Reform, a group dedicated to personal freedom in the same way that Right-to-Work groups fight in any meaningful way against the advancement of workers.

In 2010, Campbell sought from the state’s Office of the Budget the release of federal income tax information for current and former employees of the Office of Open Records. The Commonwealth Court ultimately held that the requested documents were prohibited from disclosure under the federal tax code.

In 2012, Campbell requested from the Commonwealth documents containing the following information for that year:

  • The names of all employees under the Governor’s jurisdiction who had political committee contributions deducted from their pay and the names of the committees receiving those contributions;
  • The total amount of money received the employer agencies to reimburse the government for the cost of deducting and remitting the contributions;
  • The total amount of union dues collected by payroll deduction from these employees; and
  • The names, state-issued e-mail addresses and home addresses of all fair share fee payers.

Most recently, Campbell sought “the names and associated home/mailing addresses of all active members, retired members (annuitants), and inactive vested members of SERS,” according to a written decision by the Commonwealth Court issued on March 20, 2015. Campbell is not required by law to disclose why he wants the information or what he plans on doing with it. We can suspect it has something to do with his anti-union efforts, including his campaign in favor of Right-to-Work (for less) legislation in Pennsylvania.

While we may not know for sure what Campbell wants with the names and addresses of Kutztown University employees, it is worth paying attention to the company he keeps.

Writing for Raging Chicken Press in January 2014, Sean Kitchen called attention to the rise of a new media campaign funded by “dark money groups.” Two names to pay attention to: Simon Campbell and the Koch Brothers:

The never-ending push for Right to Work (for less) legislation in Pennsylvania is on the move again, but this time there’s more of a tangible campaign targeting the conservative base.  For 14 straight years, State Representative Daryl Metcalfe has introduced some form of Right to Work legislation, but this year’s legislation was introduced by State Representative Bryan Cutler (Lancaster, PA).  Last January, Jen Stefano from the Koch Brothers funded American’s for Prosperity in Pennsylvania held a press conference with Representative Metcalfe and announced that the legislation will become law.  Currently, it appears that dark money groups tied to right wing think tanks like The Franklin Center and Greenhouse Solutions are teaming up with a conservative activist from Southeastern Pennsylvania, and are astro-turfing a social media and media campaign by using Facebook and Twitter accounts to push anti-union news and rhetoric from “independent” media outlets.

The players in this story are Simon Campbell – a conservative grassroots activist from Yardley, PA,  dark money think tanks, and astro-turfed media and social media outlets.  Simon Campbell is a local conservative activist from Bucks County PA.  He jumped on the scene in 2005 when he was elected to the Pennsbury School District.  The cause-celeb he ran on was a teacher bashing and anti-teacher strike platform.  While sitting on the Pennsbury School Board, Campbell started Stop Teachers Strike. In 2013, Campbell’s four year term on the local school board was up and he and his colleagues were sept off board.   Weeks after the election, Campbell founded a 501.4(c) organization called Pennsylvanians For Union Reform, and thanks to his non-profit social welfare status, Campbell’s group is able to receive a whole lot of dark money.  Campbell’s resume as a right-wing activist has him giving speeches at luncheons or sitting on training sessions at Koch funded think-tanks like the statewide Commonwealth Foundation and Americans for Prosperity.

Campbell has one agenda: to find whatever means he can to break the political power of unions. One source in Harrisburg said that Campbell’s latest round of Right-to-Know requests is his little hissy-fit because he was not pleased with one of the latest court decisions that allowed individual employees to request exemptions from having their home addresses and other personal data released. The idea, like many well-funded, right-wing organizations is to file law-suit after law-suit to force unions and government offices to spend down their resources and waste their time defending his constant barrage of frivolous lawsuits. And despite the fact that he calls himself a lover of liberty, he seems not to care about individuals reasonable right to privacy.

 

 

4 Comments on Koch Brothers Affiliated Anti-Union Group Wants Home Addresses of All PASSHE University Employees

  1. Sean, Simon Campbell is an evil and vile man. During his campaign for office, he published the salary and benefits of every employee paid for by the Pennsbury School District taxpayers. This was printed in color and sent to every household in the Pennsbury School District. During his tenure on the school board, he openly in public and in e-mail exchanges, cursed and try to intimidate other school board members, teachers, administrators, parents and members of the public. Two of his fellow anti-union, anti-tax and anti-government/anti public education members are still on the school board and up for re-election. Hopefully we will be able to unseat the rest of his sick, evil, Neanderthal coherts from the school board. Also during his tenure, he never visited a school, conduct in person audits, attend an athletic or cultural extracurricular, play, concert or musical, like past school board members have done, regardless of party affiliation. He only wanted to outsource everything that the school district could do, fire employees, sell the school buses, sell the buildings rather than renovate or improve/expand them. He loves charter schools and school vouchers. He doesn’t believe in public education. He things citizens should take “personal responsibility” for their children’s education, even though he sends his three kids to the public schools. He was born and raised in the United Kingdom and only became a US citizen about 10 years ago. He is a self-employed day trader, when he is not suing for public employee records, attacking unions and speaking at right wing group events all over the US, not just PA. Just Google his name. I would love to get the information on where he gets his money from and tie him to the Koch brothers. I wouldn’t be surprised, but I would like to get the proof. Who funds the Citizen’s Alliance of PA? They gave a lot of money to Simon Campbell and his cronies when they took over the school board. They took out TV ads on Cable TV on ESPN for unpaid, elected school board positions, mostly attack ads against incumbents, be they Republican or Democrat or Independent. Plus many attack direct mail from American For Prosperity, and other “Astroturf groups”. He is sick. when he was defeated when he ran for reflection two years ago, he never returned to the school board meetings for the rest of his term. He couldn’t even face the public and complete his term in office. He is so despicable. The problem is the “Tea Party” types that helped elect him and his cohorts are continuing to take over the Republican Party locally in at least my township (Lower Makefield Township). They are running against the local township and precinct committeepeople and taking over the local Republican Clubs.

  2. If Simon Campbell wants to know my home address, he can write to my publicly available email address and ask me for it. If he makes a good case for why he wants it, I’ll reply. If he doesn’t, he can kiss my a**. There’s not *one single reason* that guy needs to know where I live.

  3. Sorry for the extra post; I should have thought of this before.

    He’s a private citizen. I’m a private citizen. As a public employee, he may be entitled to know where I work. What on Earth does my residential address have to do with my job status?

    • Amen to this and so many more comments regarding – how does a person so full of animosity and seething “madness” get away with this sort of harassment – yes, our names perhaps are public knowledge, however, there is no reason on God’s green Earth or whatever other spiritual higher being you believe in does this cynic think it is the public’s right to know where I live – I think we should pool our resources together and put a ticker up on all National News Stations with his name and home address attached.

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Anti-Union “Silly Billy” Targets Raging Chicken Editor in PASSHE Records Request | Raging Chicken Press
  2. RAGING MONDAY! Kevin Mahoney and Rick Smith Talk Privacy, Dark Money, and the Fight for Democracy | Raging Chicken Press
  3. Office of Open Records Ruling on Access to PASSHE Employees Home Addresses Expected Today | Raging Chicken Press

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