United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain has more on his mind these days than overturning the no union vote at Mercedes Benz in Tuscaloosa County last month. The man who became the union's chief on promises to clean-up the scandal riddled organization is himself under federal investigation.

Part of a consent decree stemming from a U.S. Justice Department probe of UAW corruption was the appointment of an independent federal watchdog monitor to keep tabs on the union and prevent corruption. That watchdog, Neil M. Barofsky, began an investigation in February into accusations that Fain retaliated against the union’s secretary treasurer because she would not provide certain funds for his office.

Two of the three points of the consent decree covered watchdog responsibilities in past and present corruption, "(1) to help the UAW ensure that its compliance regime can prevent and remove fraud and corruption; (2) to investigate and address suspected past and present misconduct;"

In a 32-page status report filed yesterday with the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division Barofsky describes an erosion of cooperation by union leaders beginning in February after he had revealed investigations targeting members of the UAW's governing International Executive Board, including Fain and others.

"With more than three months having passed since the inception of the monitor’s investigation, and only a small fraction of the requested documents produced, the monitor’s assessment is that the union’s delay of relevant documents is obstructing and interfering with his access to information needed for his investigative work, and, if left unaddressed, is an apparent violation of the consent decree," the reported stated.

In the filing, the watchdog's office alleges Fain retaliated against Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock after she turned down a request for money for Fain's office. The UAW leader is accused of removing her authority in reprisal for her refusal or reluctance to authorize the funds.

In the report, Barofsky stated he has, "...taken a collaborative posture with the UAW from the beginning of the monitorship, seeking to obtain the Union’s cooperation in
conducting his investigative work, before resorting to more significant measures to enforce the Consent Decree."

In a separate investigation the monitor alleges Fain retaliated against one of the UAW's vice presidents. Also, Barofsky said he opened an unrelated investigation in April into a regional director after receiving allegations of potential embezzlement.

The consent decree subjects UAW to two years of federal oversight after more than a dozen auto industry and union leaders went to prison, including former UAW presidents, Gary Jones and Dennis Williams, for a pattern of corruption that included breaking federal labor laws, stealing union funds and receiving bribes, kickbacks and illegal benefits from contractors and auto executives.

Unlike previous activities, the current investigation apparently does not involve criminal activity but does threaten the continuation of the consent decree and could, if found true, lead to a federal takeover of the union.