Calif. official whose agency under-reported unemployment stats was Obama campaign donor
Marty Morgenstern, the secretary of the California agency that substantially under-reported unemployment claims last week, contributed to President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign, The Daily Caller has learned.
On Oct. 11, the federal government reported that weekly jobless claims were down significantly, suggesting a dramatic national increase in economic growth and a steep decline in layoffs. Jobless claims, according to the Labor Department, had fallen by 30,000 to 339,000, their lowest level since February 2008.
The good news for the Obama administration spread quickly, with outlets like CNN and Bloomberg declaring, “Jobless claims fall to four-year low.”
But within hours, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Labor Department analysts announced that one major state had failed to fully document jobless claims. They declined to name the state.
Speculation among market watchers and economists initially focused on California, but the state’s Employment Development Department strongly denied that it had failed to properly document the data.
“Reports that California failed to fully report data to the U.S. Department of Labor, as required, are incorrect and irresponsible,” California Employment Development Department director Pam Harris said in a statement last week. “The California Employment Development Department, which administers the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program in the state, has reported all UI claims data and submitted the data on time.”
Early Thursday, the federal government finally revealed that California had, in fact, under-reported jobless data, skewing the national jobless claims results. This week’s updated jobs report corrected the error and showed unemployment claims spiking back up by 46,000 to 388,000.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Morgenstern to lead the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency in 2011. The state agency oversees the Employment Development Department.
According to campaign disclosure records, Morgenstern donated $4,600 — the maximum amount allowed by law — to the 2008 Obama camapaign, beginning with a $1,000 contribution to Obama for America in February 2008. Morgenstern followed up that donation with a $1,300 contribution in June, and then a $2,300 payout in early September.
On all three disclosures, Morgenstern indicated that he was either “not employed” or “retired.”
According to the Sacramento Business Journal, however, Morgenstern was employed since 2003 as a consultant for the liberal University of California education system.
California officials have denied wrongdoing.