As the summer of 2020 approaches, the country is eyeing another contentious presidential campaign. President Donald Trump, now as an incumbent, is looking to defeat a second veteran of the Obama administration.
But some activists are celebrating as if it was still 2016 and Barack Obama was calling the shots.
They’re happy because of the continuation of a series of frivolous lawsuits launched by the Department of Labor just before Trump was sworn in in 2017. These suits, filed by Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), are aimed at some of the biggest technology companies in the country. And despite the change in administrations years ago, the suits are still moving forward.
Discrimination can be a serious problem, so the OFCCP’s mission to promote affirmative action by federal contractors is important. However, in these cases, the agency doesn’t have evidence of actual discrimination. Instead, Obama appointees relied on statistical analysis of hiring and promotion data to find a way to harass and sue companies, including Google and Oracle, for alleged discrimination.
That’s par for the course at this agency. An in-depth white paper from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce notes that OFCCP simply looks at “job titles to attempt to demonstrate that certain female, African-American, and Hispanic employees were ‘comparable’ to males and Whites employed in similar roles.”
Why would it do so? Lawyers call it a “sue and settle” strategy. Bring a lawsuit, pressure a big company with bad press, and convince it to pay off to make the case go away. The Chamber adds that, “OFCCP has become an agency that appears to focus more on garnering splashy headlines and securing high-dollar settlements than it does simply pursuing its admirable, if at times, unglamorous mission.”
One organization that’s surely cheering the suits is a pressure called “Democracy Forward.” The name sounds nice, but the group has little to do with democracy and everything to do with promoting liberal priorities and undermining the Trump administration.
“Since we founded Democracy Forward more than two years ago, we’ve been laser-focused on holding this administration accountable, exposing corruption, and fighting back on behalf of the people it has hurt,” the group brags on its Web page. “This year NPR called us ‘a frequent litigant against the White House’ — which is true (and we’re proud of it!) but it only tells part of the story.”
The Washington Free Beacon took a look at the group and observes, “Democracy Forward’s executive team features individuals who previously worked on Obama and Clinton campaigns despite billing itself as a ‘nonpartisan’ group.”
It’s easy to understand why a group like this would enjoy suing the Trump Administration. That’s what it exists to do. But it’s harder to understand why the administration would allow its own appointees to carry forward with silly lawsuits that can only harm a key sector of the economy.
In this election year, these OFCCP suits could wound companies in the crucial high-tech industry. In fact, that’s what they are designed to do. Make the companies look bad, and then take money from them. That makes no sense in normal times, and is even more dangerous now, since this sector is showing the most growth in the overall economy. Also, we need healthy high-tech companies to lead end the Covid-19 pandemic and help the country roar back.
The Trump Administration has made it a priority to reduce silly regulation and end the harassment of crucial businesses. That’s help boost growth for more than three years. So it shouldn’t allow these cases to go on. Kate O’Scannlain, the current Solicitor of Labor, could and should abandon these Obama era lawsuits before it’s too late.