Shocker: Unions, Largely Exempt From Campaign Finance Laws, May Be Spending 4x More Than Reported To The FEC
Democrats make a lot of noise about corporate spending on politics. That’s why they’ve railed against Supreme Court rulings striking down campaign law restrictions on political spending by corporations. They claim to be opposed to corporate political spending because “corporations aren’t people.”
Which isn’t necessarily true. Corporations are organizations founded and managed by people, just like labor unions, and the truth is that labor unions spend one heck of a lot more politics than businesses do and operate under far fewer restrictions on their political speech (which is a double standard the left loves). According to this report from the Wall Street Journal, unions are spending as much as 4 times more on politics than what they’re reporting to the FEC.
Organized labor spends about four times as much on politics and lobbying as generally thought, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, a finding that shines a light on an aspect of labor’s political activity that has often been overlooked. …
The new figures come from a little-known set of annual reports to the Labor Department in which local unions, their national parents and labor federations have been required to detail their spending on politics and lobbying since 2005.
This kind of spending, which is on the rise, has enabled the largest unions to maintain and in some cases increase their clout in Washington and state capitals, even though unionized workers make up a declining share of the workforce. The result is that labor could be a stronger counterweight than commonly realized to “super PACs” that today raise millions from wealthy donors, in many cases to support Republican candidates and causes.
The hours spent by union employees working on political matters were equivalent in 2010 to a shadow army much larger than President Barack Obama’s current re-election staff, data analyzed by the Journal show.
To be clear, I’m fine with the unions spending their money and resources this way. I think unions should be able to spend all the time and resources they want on politics, as long as the money/resources they take from their members are voluntary (they’re not in a lot of states). What the unions do should be between the unions and their voluntary members. I do not favor restrictions on political speech, even when it’s speech I disagree with. I just think it’s a little hypocritical that unions can engage in this sort of politicking, but somehow it’s bad if corporations do it.
Something to keep in mind when the left talks about corporate America and/or the Koch brothers trying to “buy” elections.Tags: campaign finance laws, fec, free speech, unions