Unions Set to Once Again Be Biggest Spenders in 2012 Elections

Obama hates the “corrosive influence of money in politics.” He said so during his most recent State of the Union.

But that statement apparently comes with an important clarifier: money is only corrosive if it is given to Republicans. When given to Democrats money is curative, capable of restoring truth to political discourse, and when given to Obama in particular money is a panacea, able to solve world hunger and make cats and dogs live in a state of perpetual harmony.

How else can you explain Obama’s criticism of Republican Super PACs while simultaneously raking in union cash? Obama recently said that Super PACs had “accelerated a dangerous trend toward a political system increasingly dominated by big-money interests with disproportionate power to spend freely to influence our elections and our government.”

And yet unions are spending money hand over fist in an attempt to make sure he’s reelected. According to a brand new report from the Associated Press, unions are planning on spending more than $400 million in 2012 to help President Obama and other Democratic candidates this cycle.

Even that number may be misleadingly low. As Jonathan Collegio writes in the Naitonal Review, “Opensecrets.org and Politifact, groups often cited by major news organizations on campaign finance issues, only measure political spending in terms of the TV and radio ads that are reported to the FEC. This totally discounts the bread and butter of union efforts: canvassing, phone banks, and some direct mail.”

Of course massive union spending to influence elections isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. According to research done by the Wall Street Journal union groups represented three of the top five biggest spenders in the 2010 midterm elections, with the largest, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), giving a whopping $87.5 million. “We’re the big dog,” said Larry Scanlon, head of the AFSCME. “But we don’t like to brag.”

Perhaps more telling, of the top 20 political donors since 1989 fourteen of them favored Democrats, five of them gave to both parties, and only one gave predominantly to Republicans.

The huge advantage that Democrats have had in election fundraising over the last few decades makes his recent comments about Super PACs all the more infuriating. “We’re not going to fight this fight with one hand tied behind our back,” said Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina. “With so much at stake, we can’t allow for two sets of rules. Democrats can’t be unilaterally disarmed.”

Apparently Messina neglects the fact that Democrats have been the party armed with the big guns in the past.

But funding by labor groups is merely one example of the left’s hypocrisy when it comes to money in elections. Here’s blogger Allahpundit with a good breakdown of some of Obama’s more high profile election spending decisions:

“He broke his promise in 2008 to accept public financing once he realized he could raise three-quarters of a billion dollars. Despite his endless self-congratulation about not taking any dirty lobbyist money, he takes plenty of dirty lobbyist money. He demagogued the Chamber of Commerce before the 2010 midterms for not disclosing donors from whom it accepts cash, and now his own Super PAC is able to do that too. Before he’s done, he might succeed in building support on the right for campaign finance reform simply because Democrats and their union cronies are so remarkably skilled at running these big-money rackets that they claim to hate.

To that list you can also add President Obama’s decision to reach out to President Clinton in an effort to increase his fundraising haul from the financial services barons in New York, ya know, the ones he pretends to bash during his populist spiel. His last trip to Wall Street only netted him $5 million (sad face), a significant drop-off from last campaign when the securities and investment industry was his biggest source of campaign cash.

All told, if money is indeed corrosive, then Democrats deserve the blame for eating away at the integrity of the process.”