Nuke Bizzle, Unemployment Fraud, and AB-5: Julie Su’s Concerning Record
Julie Su’s irresponsible record on unemployment fraud did not prevent her from confirmation as Deputy Labor Secretary by a vote of 50-47. With Biden now tapping Su for the top post, another matter should come into play.
As head of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), Su supported Assembly Bill 5, a veritable declaration against the independence of California workers. The measure primarily targeted independent truckers and rideshare drivers, but there was more to it. AB-5 also limited freelance writers, photographers, and videographers to 35 submissions per publication per year. Independent musicians also took a hit.
For example, Trumpeter Joe Mazzaferro protested that AB-5 had already reduced his band’s pay. “I feel like it’s our right to work as we choose,” the bandleader told the Sacramento Bee. Senators should bring in Mazzaferro to testify at length. Truckers, rideshare drivers, and other workers should also get a chance to detail their damage assessment.
In April of 2020, in the early days of the pandemic, Williamson M. Evers and David Theroux of the Independent Institute sent Gov. Gavin Newsom an open letter, signed by 153 California economists and political scientists, urging immediate suspension of AB-5.
“By prohibiting the use of independent contractor drivers, health care professionals, and workers in other critical areas,” the experts explained, “AB5 is doing substantial and avoidable harm to the very people who now have the fewest resources and the worst alternatives available to them.” Gov. Newsom, who had already taken on emergency powers, said there was no chance he would suspend the measure, even temporarily.
Senators should read the letter into the record and bring in some of the economists who urged suspension of the destructive measure. The massive unemployment scandal on Julie Su’s watch offers other possibilities.
Fontrell Antonio Baines of Memphis, Tennessee, obtained debit cards pre-loaded with unemployment benefits administered by the California Employment Development Department, issued in the names of third parties and victims of identity theft. Baines, also known as “Nuke Bizzle,” posted a video titled “EDD,” bragging about “my swagger for EDD,” as a second rapper says, “You gotta sell cocaine. I just file a claim.”
Nuke Bizzle might make an entertaining witness for Julie Su’s confirmation hearing. If unavailable, senators could read the lyrics to his EDD video. “I done got rich off EDD,” the rapper explained, “I just might swipe me a lump sum. I’m in Dior havin’ money fun... Ten cards, I’m swiping 10K a day. Counting up bills like a CPA.” And so on.
With a federal post of this magnitude, getting as many witnesses as possible on the record is important. At this writing, no date has been set for Su’s confirmation hearing.