President Obama and his attack dogs as still trying to make major political hay about the Chamber of Commerce and all of the money it is putting into the Mid-Term elections. But the Chamber only ranks #2 in donations during this political cycle, public sector Unions Rank 1st, 4th and 5th. According to the Wall Street Journal
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is now the biggest outside spender of the 2010 elections, thanks to an 11th-hour effort to boost Democrats that has vaulted the public-sector union ahead of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and a flock of new Republican groups in campaign spending.
The 1.6 million-member AFSCME is spending a total of $87.5 million on the elections after tapping into a $16 million emergency account to help fortify the Democrats’ hold on Congress. Last week, AFSCME dug deeper, taking out a $2 million loan to fund its push. The group is spending money on television advertisements, phone calls, campaign mailings and other political efforts, helped by a Supreme Court decision that loosened restrictions on campaign spending.
“We’re the big dog,” said Larry Scanlon, the head of AFSCME’s political operations. “But we don’t like to brag.”
Don’t like to brag? Out of this top five $171.5 million dollars come from the ultimate big government special interest group, public sector unions. On the other hand the two groups that the progressive Democrats have been trying to vilify, the Chamber and American Crossroads are responsible for $140 million.
Public service unions support the progressives because the bigger the government, the bigger their member base. So this money is designed to expand government without any concern whether or not it’s the right move for the country.
These public service unions fear that conservative legislators will push to clip the political power of public-sector unions which has grown tremendously under the Obama administration.
For years, conservatives have argued such unions have an outsize influence in picking the elected officials who are, in effect, their bosses, putting them in a strong position to push for more jobs, and thus more political clout.
Some critics say public-sector unions are funded by what is essentially taxpayer cash, since member salaries, and therefore union dues, come directly from state budgets.
“Public-sector unions have a guaranteed source of revenue—you and me as taxpayers,” said Glenn Spencer, executive director of the Workforce Freedom Initiative at the Chamber of Commerce.
The other issue is that conservative takeovers in Congress and statehouses could breathe life into efforts to restrict how public-sector unions collect and spend members’ dues
Republican Gov. Chris Christie has proposed including public-employee unions under New Jersey’s pay-to-play rules, which generally limit political contributions by affected groups and individuals. Other Republican governors are likely to pursue similar measures.
One group, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, one of the main conservative union critics, advocates turning public-sector unions into voluntary organizations. That would deprive unions of the ability to use the government payroll system to collect dues and contributions. It would also allow state and local employees to organize and bargain in other ways.