While the media is bashing outsider conservative groups and the Chamber of Commerce for spending on the elections, guess who are the real big spenders? Big Labor.
The Wall Street Journal reports that while most attention has been given to the large spending initiatives by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other pro-Republican groups, the public-sector union American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, is “now the biggest outside spender of the 2010 elections” and is spending $87.5 million to boost Democratic candidates. Said the head of AFSCME’s political operations: “We’re the big dog. But we don’t like to brag.”
This $87.5 million is mostly money spent from the general treasury of the union. Just a small piece, perhaps 10%, is in the form of political action committee donations that are voluntary to union members. The bulk of Big Labor’s dough comes from dues and fees money collected from workers who may or may not agree with the union bosses choices of issues and candidates. Unlike others who have to request their political contributions, the AFSCME and other unions are fueled by a never ending stream of mandatory forced dues money.