Oracle America is fighting back against a troubling “midnight lawsuit” filed by the Obama administration in the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency. The California-based computing infrastructure company now needs the Trump administration to stand up against the bogus suit in order to prevent an unjustified $400 million punishment.
An agency within the Department of Labor (DOL) called the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), levied the lawsuit against Oracle and other government contractors claiming the companies were guilty of hiring and pay discrimination. In reality, the claims were based on crude analysis of personnel data provided by the businesses. There were never any actual complaints against the companies, and no proof of wrongdoing has ever emerged.
“These actions to unfairly attack businesses under the guise of promoting diversity were a key tool for the DOL under the liberal Obama Administration,” according to Stacy Washington, an Emmy Nominated TV personality, Air Force Veteran and co-chair of Project 21, the national leadership network of black conservatives.
“OFCCP’s unfair system to determine the intent of companies hiring and promotions activities assumes guilt before any real proof is shown, which is antithetical to the American justice system,” Washington wrote in a column lambasting the lawsuits. “Statistical analysis simply cannot accurately encompass the myriad factors involved in hiring decisions.”
These last-minute Obama Administration lawsuits against government contractors should have been withdrawn by the current administration the moment President Trump was sworn in. The Trump administration, however, has yet to get involved, leaving the companies to waste millions of dollars and man-hours battle the bogus lawsuits.
OFCCP levied a discrimination lawsuit against Google, even though investigations meant to determine whether the search engine giant was underpaying women and members of minority groups actually found that Google paid men less than women for doing the same job. Google fought the OFCCP’s claim and won a costly and protracted court battle.
Data analytics firm Palantir Technologies decided it would be cheaper to pay a $1.7 million settlement than to fight the suit in court.
Oracle decided to stand up to the OFCCP. After the bureaucracy demanded Oracle pay out $400 million to workers in back pay for various unsubstantiated discrimination claims, the tech company sued OFCCP.
Under the current system, OFCCP claims against government contractors are not prosecuted in federal courts with a federal jury. Instead, according to Oracle’s complaint, “the Department of Labor itself serves as investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and appellate court, usurping the role of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice and the Courts.”
“Oracle filed this case because it is being subjected to an unlawful enforcement action by the Labor Department utilizing a process with no statutory foundation whatsoever,” said Ken Glueck, Oracle’s executive vice president.
OFCCP’s system for adjudicating discrimination claims against government contractors, it turns out, was not authorized by Congress or the President, and directly contravenes federal rules forbidding agencies from investigating, prosecuting, and adjudicating allegations entirely in-house. Additionally, there is no statutory authority for litigation alleging discrimination by federal government contractors using statistical analysis, and without actual evidence of discrimination.
The fact that OFCCP is engaging in improper and unauthorized discrimination lawsuits based on flimsy data, and without a victim, hasn’t stopped progressive extremist group Democracy Forward from concocting a campaign in support of the OFCCP’s schemes.
In March, Democracy Forward announced its plan to intervene in Oracle’s lawsuit against OFCCP in an attempt to expand the bureaucracy’s unconstitutional authority to be the judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to discrimination claims against government contractors.
It is unlikely the outfit would’ve become involved in the case – and pushed for an unelected and unchecked bureaucracy to gain additional, unusual and improper power – if a Democrat were president.
That’s because Democracy Forward was founded in 2017 by Democratic activists for the express purpose of attacking the Trump administration and exploit the legal system to advance progressive policies. In fact, despite being a little over three years old, the group has already sued the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, and the Office of Management and Budget. Democracy Forward has also filed complaints about injunctive relief against the Department of Transportation and Department of Defense
Anne Harkavy, Democracy Forward’s executive director, was a legal counsel to the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John Kerry, and is married to an Obama administration Deputy Attorney General.
Hillary Clinton’s former campaign attorney and a “go-to fixer” for Democrats, Marc Elias, is involved in the group. So is John Podesta, Clinton’s former campaign manager. Democracy Forward’s former policy and strategy director, Corey Ciorciari, was a policy advisor for Clinton during her 2016 campaign. Maya Karris, the sister of U.S. Senator and former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, is a member of the organization’s advisory board.
Democracy Forward appears to be intentionally vague about its funding. The group’s website does not name donors and offers no information about sources of financial support. But money apparently isn’t a problem for the secretive group.
According to 2018 IRS documents, the organization’s non-profit foundation arm funneled $1.4 million to the Center for American Progress, the socialist-leaning think tank founded by John Podesta with $65 million in assets.
Clearly, the unaccountable bureaucrats at the Labor Department and the wealthy backroom schemers at Democracy Forward want to expand the OFCCP’s authority so that no federal contractors are able to get a fair shake when they’re improperly accused of discrimination.
The final hope to stop this troubling power grab appears to be Kate O’Scannlain, the Trump Administration’s Solicitor of Labor. O’Scannlain’s office has the authority to halt these Obama era lawsuits – and it must.
It is vital for the government to hold companies accountable when they are engaging in unequal pay, unfair hiring practices, and other discriminatory practices. But it’s just as important for government leaders to take a stand when a federal agency is allowed to wildly overstep its boundaries, lob false allegations, trample the Constitution, and thumb its nose at the rule of law.
We will soon find out if the Trump administration has what it takes to stand up for what’s right and rein in the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
Drew Johnson is a government watchdog who serves as a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.
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