The Koch Brothers, Unions, and the Democratic Party's Campaign Finance Delusions
2:44 PM, Mar 25, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Interestingly, while Fang uncritically accepts this expansive dollar amount when talking about the Kochs, he goes out of his way to down play the amount of money unions spend. The Post article he gets his Koch total from from actually says that unions matched Koch spending and "plowed roughly $400 million into national, state and local elections in 2012." In fact, a single public employee union, AFSCME, likely spent over $100 million in 2012. The idea that all unions combined only spent $150 million is farcical, unless Fang is making a dishonest comparison.
Now Fang and other Koch critics like to point out that dark money, super PACs, and other non-disclosed money are being used to influence elections post-Citizens United. Now setting aside the First Amendment debate in campaign finance laws, a major reason why Democrats have railed against Citizens United is that it helped level the fundraising playing field. In fact, when Democrats tried (and failed) to pass legislation to rectify what they didn't like about the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, they actually had the chutzpah to exempt unions from new disclosure requirements they were proposing. For decades, Democrats have had a big fundraising advantage because huge amounts of union political spending don't have to be disclosed, and to the extent this spending has to be disclosed to the Department of Labor, Democrats don't even pretend to enforce it. Here's what I reported about union financial dislosure back in 2011:
But because the Bush administration did briefly enforce these financial disclosures, the Wall Street Journal did something interesting. They looked at the surfeit of LM-2 data and calculated that, in addition to the $1.1 billion in union political spending disclosed to the FEC between 2005 and 2011, they spent another $3.3 billion on politics over that same time period. Union spending exceeds all direct political donations combined. Unions and allied interests protest that this analysis is unfair, because much of the activity described as political is inimical to union organizing:
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