One of Bernie Sanders’ senior campaign advisors was once convicted of stealing money from union workers and no one seems to care.
In 2016, when Bernie Sanders was the only primary challenger to then-presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, Politico ran a story about an advisor to Bernie Sanders who, as a national political director, was previously convicted of embezzlement from the United Steelworkers a mere three years earlier.
During the 2016 Democratic primaries, Sanders’ campaign paid Solidarity Strategies $204,000 to “extend the Vermont senator’s reach into the Latino community,” Politico reported.
Solidarity Strategies was founded by Chuck Rocha. Although his bio on Solidarity Strategies’ website lists his union background, it glosses over his criminal past.
For some, the fact that Sanders used Rocha’s services in 2016 might be overlooked were it not for the fact that the Sanders campaign is using Rocha for his 2020 presidential campaign.
Thanks for joining me this morning on @foxandfriends talking about how @BernieSanders will win the nomination and the 2020 presidential race #brownconsultantsmatter #BernieSanders2020 pic.twitter.com/EwIJJLt2NE
— Chuck Rocha (@ChuckRocha) April 21, 2019
Moreover, not only is Sanders using Rocha on his 2020 campaign, Rocha seems to have been elevated to the position of “2020 senior advisor” to the Sanders campaign.
To further add some irony to the situation, despite that he cannot lawfully hold union office until 2026 due to his prior conviction, Rocha is also claiming to have been part of the “employer’s” negotiating committee that just negotiated a contract with the United Food & Commercial Workers on behalf of Sanders’ campaign staff.
I am proud 2 have negotiated this contract with our @BernieSanders staff. We set a high bar 4 the rest of the Presidential campaigns. As example, Interns will make $20 an hr with fully paid healthcare #berniesanders #notmeus #walkthetalk https://t.co/Lq5zHj6bco
— Chuck Rocha (@ChuckRocha) May 9, 2019
Here is what the U.S. Department of Labor states about Rocha on its website:
On September 11, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Charles E. Rocha, former Political Director of the United Steelworkers International Union (located in Pittsburgh, Pa.), was indicted on 18 counts of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $6,971.19, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.
On March 20, 2013, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Charles E. Rocha, former political director of the United Steelworkers (located in Pittsburgh, Pa.) pled guilty to one count of 29 U.S.C. 501(c) in the amount of $418.68 for a trip to Detroit for a Stanley Cup hockey game which included expenses for mileage, per diem, and two hotel rooms. Rocha acknowledged responsibility for the other 17 counts of 29 U.S.C. 501(c) in the 18 count indictment. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.
On July 30, 2013, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Charles E. Rocha, former Political Director for the Steelworkers International Union (located in Pittsburgh, Pa.), was sentenced to two years of probation and was ordered to pay a fine of $2,000. Rocha had previously made restitution in the amount of $12,449. On March 20, 2013, Rocha pled guilty to embezzling union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office. [Emphasis added.]
Given the fact that Rocha’s past union embezzlement conviction was known in 2016, and the Sanders campaign knew about it then and hired Rocha again for his 2020 campaign, it does not appear that Sanders or his followers care about Rocha’s criminal past.
Previously: Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Staff Just Unionized With The UFCW