The Chicago Sun-Times reports that organized labor sends a “message of intimidation” to Chicago’s City Council “by pumping more than $1 million into just five aldermanic races — with some challengers receiving 100 percent of their campaign contributions from unions . . . ”
Bernard Loyd [a board member for the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC)] reviewed the campaign finance reports of union-backed challengers in a few wards. . . . It showed that organized labor contributed $1.02 million to challengers in five wards and that the beneficiaries relied almost exclusively on union money. They were 3rd Ward challenger Pat Dowell ($147,000 or two-thirds of all contributions); 12th Ward candidate Carina Sanchez ($171,000 or 96 percent); 15th Ward candidate Toni Foulkes ($250,000 or 100 percent); 16th Ward challenger Joann Thompson ($248,000 or 100 percent); and 21st Ward challenger Leroy Jones Jr. ($210,000 or 96 percent).
Those same candidates also received the benefit of extensive campaign management, polling, message development, opposition research and hundreds of precinct workers, he said.
Four of the top five union-funded candidates advanced to the April 17 run-off. The only exception was the 12th Ward, where incumbent George Cardenas steamrolled to a 59.2 percent victory over union-bankrolled Sanchez thanks to support from a wounded, but still potent, Hispanic Democratic Organization.
Two challengers who won their races outright together received $75,000 in union money, the MPC report states. They are aldermen-elect Sandi Jackson (7th), wife of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., and Brendan Reilly (42nd).
“There are a handful of union candidates who had little to no financial support from the community. They were essentially propped up by the unions in order to send a message of intimidation to the City Council,” Loyd said.
Illinois, of course, is a state where workers are not afforded Right to Work protections. Union bosses in the state can spend their dues with impunity — and do.
[Though the numbers remain the same, this article has since been clarified (scroll down to the clarification) and updated by the Chicago Sun Times. The Metropolitan Policy Council has also clarified that though Mr. Loyd is, indeed, author of the study and an MPC board member, MPC is a nonpartisan organization that played no role in production or dissemination of Bernard Lloyd’s analysis of labor’s contributions to aldermanic candidates. The study was done by Mr. Lloyd in his roles as private businessman.]