Big Labor squeezes workers for $150 million (at least) [Karl]
The Wall Street Journal editorial board notices that Big Labor is oppressing the proletariat — and they are not the only ones noticing:
The mighty Service Employees International Union (SEIU) plans to spend some $150 million in this year’s election, most of it to get Barack Obama and other Democrats elected. Where’d they get that much money?
That’s a question the Departments of Labor and Justice are being asked to investigate by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Specifically, the labor watchdog group wants Justice to query a new SEIU policy that appears to coerce local workers into funding the parent union’s national political priorities.
The $150 million figureÃ‚Â is the tip of the iceberg, as the WSJ noted in April:
The AFL-CIO has approved a record political budget of $53 million to help fund 200,000 union workers on the street. Its affiliated national and international unions have pledged another $200 million. The National Education Association will throw $40 million to $50 million at races. The Service Employees International Union has marked off $100 million for politics, and intends to pay 2,000 union members the equivalent of their salaries to work on Democratic campaigns. Add in union money for federal or state political action committees, for 527s, and for local and state races, and some astute members of the business community Ã¢â‚¬â€œ those who have seen this coming Ã¢â‚¬Å“tsunamiÃ¢â‚¬Â (as one puts it) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ estimate union political spending may top $1 billion in 2008.
The new $150 million SEIU figure may suggest a general escalation by Big Labor over its initial plans.
Nor is this a new phenomenon.Ã‚Â There is evidence suggesting that Big Labor has been circumventingÃ‚Â legal restrictions on forced political donations for decades.Ã‚Â One question that might be asked is how Republicans could have held the White House for 20 of the last 28 years, and Congress for 12 of the last 13 years, without having devoted resources to investigatingÃ‚Â this problem.Ã‚Â After all, if the Democrats control Congress and the White House next year the problem will only get worse, as Ed Morrissey and McQ note today.
On the other hand, the media — or more likely John McCain’s campaign — ought to be asking why Barack Obama –Ã‚Â who claims to want to get rid of the Old Politics, eschews contibutions from lobbyists (if only in theory) and has discouraged so-called “section 527” groups from running independent campaigns — is not condemning this Very Old Politics, particularly as the SEIU already seems to be the biggest 527 group operating in this cycle.