Labor unions are urging Americans to donate to their newly created Hurricane Harvey Community Relief Fund but some suspect it's a fund-raising scam that is exploiting the flooding victims.
"Big Labor Exploits Harvey," reads the Aug. 30 headline from The Washington Free Beacon.
The story quotes a pro-business think tank that suspects donations to the newly created relief fund won't reach the victims, since the donation page states that donations are vital "to ensuring that we have the resources we need to organize and fight for Texans devastated by Hurricane Harvey."
The word "organize" exposes the true goal of the fund-raising effort, a spokesman for the Employment Policy Institute told the Beacon.
The Community Relief Fund was started by the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, which is sponsored by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Communication Workers of America (CWA).
The donation website plainly suggests that the unions won't be passing out food and water to any and all Texans who are hungry and thirsty. The goal is to reach "marginalized communities" impacted by the hurricane by "shining a spotlight on inequalities that emerge" during restoration efforts, the website states.
A spokesman for the Education Fund similarly told the Free Beacon that "100 percent" of the money raised will be spent on personal hygiene items, legal help, and "advocacy" for "low income and people of color."
Reached for comment about the controversy, a CWA spokeswoman tells OneNewsNow that the labor union's relief fund "aids members in distress" and is "completely unrelated" to its organizing efforts.
And the union is not alone. In its Twitter feed, the left-wing Women's March has raised eyebrows by encouraging its 500,000-plus followers to donate to organizations that are specifically helping immigrants and minorities impacted by Harvey's historic floods.
Yet social media has been flooded with feel-good stories of Americans helping others regardless of race or politics.
"I met my country this weekend, the last three days," volunteer rescuer Kenny Vaughan said (see video below) from Beaumont, Texas. "I met them in every color, every shape and every race."
Pam Villarreal, an independent policy analyst based in Texas, tells OneNewsNow she shares the same skepticism expressed in the Beacon story, since the labor unions are raising disaster relief funds through their political action committees.
"It's going to go for lobbying efforts after all this is over," she predicts.
The labor unions' bad press worsened when left-wing Muslim activist Linda Sarsour used her Twitter account to praise the Relief Fund.
"Beware Linda Sarsour's 'Harvey Hurricane Relief Fund," reads the headline from The Weekly Standard.
Other conservative outlets including National Review and The Washington Examiner noticed Sarsour's endorsement, too, and their own stories brought more attention to Big Labor's questionable effort.
Meanwhile, a native Texan has told OneNewsNow she will be driving a U-Haul truck filled with food and water to the devastated Texas coast.
Malaise Murphy Norfleet, a Texas-based employee with the National Federation of Independent Business, is headed to her hometown of Refugio, located north of Corpus Christi.
"Because it's a town of 3,000 people, I worry that it's going to be forgotten," she says. "I've been so moved, sad, distraught for the town. It could have been me 18 years ago."
Texas-based conservative activist Tom Pauken, who talks often to OneNewsNow about politics, lives in the coastal city of Port Aransas. That city was hit by high winds, he says, but the overall impact of Harvey has been "unprecedented" on the Texas coast.
"I think it's going to take years to recover," he predicts, "and it could have a permanent effect on Houston."