How money affects elections......or not.

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From the Wall Street Journal-A report by the Wall Street Journal looks at the amount of money spent by unions on political organizing and finds it is actually four times the amount reported in FEC filings. Since 2005, unions have spent $4.4 billion on direct donations and organizing activities, nearly all of it on behalf of Democrats.

The Federal Election Commission requires unions to report any direct donations to candidates or PACs. However, more detailed reports filed with the Department of Labor indicate that the money reported to the FEC is only about 1/4 of the amount unions spend on political activity. Money spent on things like internal communications to members (pushing them to vote for union approved candidates) and local political races represent the remainder.

About half of the money reported to the Labor Department is spent on donations to state and local races. The remainder is spent paying salaries of union officials who spend their time on political activities, nearly all of which benefits Democrats. In 2010, union political work contributed the equivalent of "3,242 full-time operatives with a payroll of $214 million."

The donation of time and money to Democratic candidates by unions makes up for the contributions of corporations. As the Journal notes, corporate donors tend to split their money between the parties, "In 2008, Democrats received 55% of the $2 billion contributed by corporate PACs and company employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics." The net effect, when it does benefit Republicans, is smaller than the donation of union time and money, more than 90 percent of which goes to Democrats.

The AFL-CIO is one of the largest union donors. Combining the money spent on the losing (for Democrats) 2010 election cycle and the losing 2011 recall election in Wisconsin, the AFL-CIO has dropped nearly a billion dollars in the last three years. Though the AFL-CIO has lost 2 million members since 2005, the percentage of dues spent on politics has gone up during this same period.

Democrats continue to complain about Citizens United and the danger of having too much money in politics. But those concerns only apply to Republicans. You will never hear them complain about the "shadow army" of union members working on their behalf or the billions spent to benefit their candidates and causes.

No votes yet

I think we can all agree this Dark Money, Superpac, Citizens United ruling has become a major issue of political control of our Democracy. Rupert Murdoch (owner of Wall Street Journal & FoxNews) has his own European criminal investigation of bribery and corruption that is about to boil over into the United States. This WSJ article is just a propaganda piece to combat the outrage of Citizens United corruption of our government. Murdoch even had FoxNews blathering on about this.

Two key paragraphs of the article define the whole thing as propaganda..

Laurence E. Gold, counsel to the AFL-CIO, said the Labor Department reports show that "unions by law are the most transparent institutions about their electoral spending."

Comparisons with corporate political spending aren't easy to make. Some corporate political spending, such as donations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's political wing, doesn't need to be disclosed. What does have to be disclosed can't be found in a single database or two, as is the case with unions.

As Gold reports, "unions by law are the most transparent institutions about their electoral spending." and corporations hide their dark money in secrecy of the public eye giving this article a definite two thumbs down!

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

The union says they're the most transparent group when it comes to spending money on campaigns. That should be good enough for me? LOL you can go ahead and believe that.

You actually need to read the WSJ report. Not only did unions report spending 4.4 billion but experts believe that is a low estimate.

Well if they're so transparent why is it an estimate? Because unions don't HAVE to report both lobbying to their membership in those numbers. So they can inundate their members with as much political advertisements as they want and they have never had to report it under campaign finance law. Show me a Corporation that does that.

Transparent? Maybe by their standards upon themselves.

So the WSJ is propaganda, yet the union who says it's "transparent" and who spends BILLIONS on elections is a unbiased source. And as I've shown here the union has more "dark money" than the corporations.

MikeyA

I subscribe to the journal so yes I did read it and as I reported in my earlier post Murdoch owns it so I'm skeptical of the timing of this "piece". As for the WSJ term "experts" well I've read this paper long enough to read between the lines and know things are not always what they may seem since Murdoch bought it.. I only read it to give me perspective.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Then you choose to omit the portion I wrote of.

You say you're skeptical and thus biased AND your bias chose to not report a fact of the article and you only reported one side. The WSJ, however, DID report both sides.

Thus a reasonable person can conclude the only propaganda here is that reported by you since you choose to report only one side due to your personal bias despite being presented with both sides of the article.

MikeyA

I believe I heard that unions have spent more than $4.4 billion on elections since 2006.

"We're all riding on the Hindenburg, no sense fighting over the window seats"-Richard Jenni

If someone is influenced by any media to vote for someone that will work against his/her interest, they get what they deserve.

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