A yearlong audit revealed that the AFL-CIO has some tightening to do over its own internal financial controls and record keeping. A spokesman from the Labor Department saidthatthe audit found problems beyond “mere technical bookkeeping errors” -- pointing specifically to the lack of travel policy for AFL-CIO officers, poor reporting of travel expenses for spouses, improper handling of credit card charges and missing loan documents -- according to published reports. The department released a 14-page letter that suggested improvements in financial procedures for the federation, which represents more than 50 unions and 9 million workers and is one of the largest shareholders in public companies, with more than $400 billion in assets. A spokeswoman for the federation said that the group plans to comply with the department's recommendations. In a letter to the federation's executive council, federation president John Sweeney did note that the audit raised no questions regarding the federation's expenditure of funds on behalf of workers. He also took a political shot at the White House, saying that the scope of the audit reveals that, "enforcing the nation's worker protection laws has taken a back seat to union oversight in the Bush administration." Less than a month ago, the federation sent a letter to the Big Four, specifically asking for more information about the role that the major accounting firms might have played in the handling of stock options grants the government is now investigating in a separate matter.
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