“Harry Reid surely must have meant the unions when he complained about buying elections.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel blasted like a blunderbuss right through Sen. Harry Reid’s recent Senate Floor ramblings:
Harry Reid surely must have meant the unions when he complained about buying elections.Harry Reid is under a lot of job-retention stress these days, so Americans might forgive him the occasional word fumble. When he recently took to the Senate floor to berate the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch for spending “unlimited money” to “rig the system” and “buy elections,” the majority leader clearly meant to be condemning unions.
It’s an extraordinary thing, in a political age obsessed with campaign money, that nobody scrutinizes the biggest, baddest, “darkest” spenders of all: organized labor. … unions glide blissfully, unmolestedly along. This lack of oversight has led to a union world that today acts with a level of campaign-finance impunity that no other political giver—conservative outfits, corporate donors, individuals, trade groups—could even fathom.
Mr. Reid was quite agitated on the Senate floor about “unlimited money,” by which he must have been referring to the $4.4 billion that unions had spent on politics from 2005 to 2011 alone, according to this newspaper. The Center for Responsive Politics’ list of top all-time donors from 1989 to 2014 ranks Koch Industries No. 59. Above Koch were 18 unions, which collectively spent $620,873,623 more than Koch Industries ($18 million).
Mr. Reid was similarly heated over the tie-up between outside groups and politicians, by which he surely meant the unions who today openly operate as an arm of the Democratic Party.
Unions, as 501(c)(5) organizations, are technically held to the same standards against coordination with political parties. Yet no Democrat or union official today even troubles to maintain that fiction.
The question therefore is how much of that $4.4 billion in union spending was at the disposal of the Democratic Party—potentially in violation of a bajillion campaign-finance rules?