Campaign finance reform: be careful what you wish for Democrats
You’ve heard all the whining by Democrats about “outside spending” on election campaigns and the lecture of the members of the Supreme Court by President Obama during the last State of the Union address because they overturned the unconstitutional campaign finance law? Their concerns, as they stated them, were about “outside spending” on campaigns. That’s a Dem code phrase for “corporate spending”. But as this election cycle is demonstrating, most of the “outside spending” for the mid-terms isn’t coming from corporations per se – it’s coming from public employee unions.
Of the top five “outside sources” of spending, three are pubic employee unions. The top spender is The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at 87.5 million dollars. The next two are the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads (Karl Rove). Numbers four and five are the SEIU and NEA. Of those five the two supporting Republicans has spent 140 million. The public sector unions, committed to Democrats, have spent 171.5 million.
Asked about this here’s the White House response:
When asked about AFSCME’s ramped up campaign efforts following the court’s decision, the White House focused on largely anonymous campaign spending by what it termed "special interests."
"The president has been crystal clear that third-party groups which spend tens of millions of dollars from anonymous sources are a threat to our democracy—regardless of which candidates they support," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. He said these groups are disproportionately backing Republican candidates.
Yeah, not so much Josh. And you have to wonder why “anonymous” sources are somehow more of a “threat to our democracy” than known sources like the AFSCME, SEIU and NEA? And since when haven’t they been as much “special interests” for Democrats as they claim Big Business is for the GOP?
By the way, you’ll love this:
Previously, most labor-sponsored campaign ads had to be funded by volunteer donations. Now, however, AFSCME can pay for ads using annual dues from members, which amount to about $390 per person. AFSCME said it will tap membership dues to pay for $17 million of ads backing Democrats this election.
Nice. Any guess as to whether union dues will rise next year since much of them are now being spent on political lobbying/campaigning/advertising? And how does it feel to have your tax dollars indirectly supporting political advertising with which you don’t agree (and for those in the unions who don’t agree, their dues are directly supporting such efforts).
Back to the point of the title though – given these numbers, one wonders how much continued caterwauling we’ll hear from Obama and the Democrats with 2012 looming?
Yeah, not much.