Free Markets, Free People

Lions, tigers and rich righty SuperPacs, oh my!

Digby at Hullabaloo is just, well, incensed.   It’s about those, those … SuperPacs.  It’s about those, those  … rich … trying to buy elections.

Digby now wonders “how anyone can call this democracy anymore.”

And the rant, based on a Mother Jones article, has charts and everything.

Says Digby:

I certainly feel a new found faith in democracy knowing that this handful of billionaires are finally allowed to have the same influence over our government that I do.

And for all this cash they’re spending, it’s chump change to them.They are that rich.

Oh, my.

One of the charts is entitled “The top five-dark money nonprofit groups have spent $53 million on ads.  They disclosed just $420,920, or 0.0079%.”

Ye gods, you say.  Those rascally Republicans.  Trying to buy an election.

Of course Digby tries to sell this, via implication, as some sort of recent GOP innovation.  You know something along the line that SuperPacs are, essentially, an invention of the right and best used by the right, and as noted in the Hullabaloo post, being set up for future use.  (cue scary music!)

Alarmingly missing from Digby’s hyperventilating about people that are “that rich”, however, is a leftist faction that’s been doing this better and longer for years and years.


That’s right, unions perfected this long ago.  And you, and obviously Digby, might be a bit surprised what that means in dollars and cents.  Let me just put it this way, it makes $53 million seem like a drop in the bucket:

The usual measure of unions’ clout encompasses chiefly what they spend supporting federal candidates through their political-action committees, which are funded with voluntary contributions, and lobbying Washington, which is a cost borne by the unions’ own coffers.

These kinds of spending, which unions report to the Federal Election Commission and to Congress, totaled $1.1 billion from 2005 through 2011, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The unions’ reports to the Labor Department capture an additional $3.3 billion that unions spent over the same period on political activity.

$4.4 billion?  $4.4 billion since 2005?  Makes those spending $53 million seem like pikers doesn’t it?  And, of course, we know that union political activity has been going on well before 2005, don’t we?

But nary a mention, except in passing in an excerpt in the post, of that sort of spending by union or an exclamation about $4.4 billion seeming like “chump change” to them, they’re “that rich”.

But then, doing that would kill the meme in its tracks wouldn’t it?


Twitter: @McQandO

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11 Responses to Lions, tigers and rich righty SuperPacs, oh my!

  • Did he mention the now, offensively visible, in-kind donations via the media and polling companies?
    I’m supposed to think that’s just a recent turn of events then, rather than conclude that it’s been happening for a while.
    Without the new media to expose it or to allow me to find news and info OTHER than the left-estate media 1984 mini-tru feed I was unable to be SURE it was happening, and now I see it every stinking day.  A rise in unemployment is a good signal, everyone loves Obama, Romney may have murdered millions, we just don’t know, he needs to prove he didn’t, etc.
    So another biased jack wagon comes along and whines because his bias has now become blatantly obvious…..ho-hum.

  • Another difference is that companies use their political money differently than unions do, spending a far larger share of it on lobbying, while not undertaking anything equivalent to unions’ drives to persuade members to vote as the leadership dictates.
    Corporations and their employees also tend to spread their donations fairly evenly between the two major parties, unlike unions, which overwhelmingly assist Democrats. In 2008, Democrats received 55% of the $2 billion contributed by corporate PACs and company employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Labor unions were responsible for $75 million in political donations, with 92% going to Democrats.

    Oh.  My.  How embarrassing for the little scare-mongering Moonbattery asshat…
    Capitanus to post about how this can ONLY be cured by passing MORE laws to take away MORE choices in 3…2…

    • One thing that I think has the unions really upset is that in the Citizens United SCOTUS opinion, the court didn’t find much difference between the way corporations and unions should be treated.

      • Citizens United – dude, you have a gift sometimes for understatement   🙂

    • Ah, mustn’t forget disenfranchising the poor and non-white.

  • And hurrah for the democrat(ic) process in action!
    Tennessee Democratic Party disavows Senate nominee|head
    Representing ‘the people’, ‘the little people’, ‘the little guy’.

  • Do the dems not have any SuperPacs?
    Do they not have any big money contributors?  Is George Soros staying out of it this time around?
    It seems digby and Mother Jones have their collective panties balled up over nothing.  After all people, corporations and unions make political contributions by their own choice don’t they?   Choice is big with those on the left isn’t it?

    • Their choice.  Not yours.

      • So long as you choose what they want you to, you can choose whatever you like!
        It’s sort of a play on Henry Ford’s selection of Model T colors, with the same flexibility.