A statewide labor group sent out a sharply worded letter yesterday indicating that it has blacklisted local Democratic political consultant Jude Barry and his company, Catapult Strategies. In the letter, Art Pulaski of the California Federation of Labor (CFL) attacks Barry for “supporting the efforts of an anti-union committee” seeking to qualify a so-called “paycheck protection” initiative.
Barry recently helped found a technology firm, Verafirma, which allows initiative-backers to gather signatures electronically on computers and devices such as iPhones. That company—not Catapult Communications—has leased its technology for test-runs to four initiative campaigns, including the Paycheck Protection Act. That initiative would require unions to get members’ approval before dues can be spent for political campaigns, and is part of a nationwide movement to disrupt unions’ political power.
Today’s “Capitol Alert” from the Sacramento Bee reports that Barry has worked for CLF-backed candidates, such as Rep. John Garamendi in the past. It also points out that neither Barry nor his firm are involved with the initiative in question.
“It’s unfortunate and inaccurate,” he said. “I have not now, nor have I ever, worked for that campaign.”
An LA Times blog today points out that Barry has also worked for progressive stalwarts including Howard Dean, Richard Gephardt and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
The three other initiatives leasing Verafirma’s technology are all progressive causes: One would reinstate the right of same-sex couples to marry, another would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, a third would change the state’s legislative vote requirement to pass a budget or raise taxes from two-thirds to a simple majority.
Barry send out an email today pointing out that he is not profiting from the deal.
“I personally was not involved in seeking the account in question and do not participate in any way, including any profits that may come from this account. I am one of seven stakeholders in the company and do not have majority interests nor sole discretion over our policies. Nonetheless, I was asked by the California Labor Federation to break our contract with the campaign. To do so without cause would be discriminatory and wrong and something I and the company were not willing to do.”
Read More at the Sacramento Bee.