by Brad Peck
@ the Chamber PostUnions to spend big on the status quo
At least two influential unions will spend close to $100 million on the 2010 election, with most of those funds going to protect incumbents. Union officials told The Hill they plan to help endangered members — particularly freshmen — who made politically difficult votes in a year during which an anti-incumbent mood has filled the country. And the number will be even higher since the AFL-CIO declined to give its figures.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) plans to spend in excess of $50 million during the 2010 campaign, part of which will fund “a massive incumbent protection program,” according to Gerry McEntee, president of the union. AFSCME spent roughly $67 million on its political activities in 2008. But the $50 million slated for the 2010 elections is the largest expenditure the union will make in a midterm election, according to union officials. The money will go to help defend the union’s top tier of eight Senate seats and 34 House members.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) plans to spend $44 million in total on its 2010 election program. The union spent $85 million on its 2008 campaign, according to union officials...“In the past, we have not paid as much attention to incumbent protection as we have this year,” said Jon Youngdahl, national political director for the SEIU. “In the past, decisions were made on electoral opportunities and this year decisions are being made on the healthcare reform accountability.”
A third labor group said it plans to spend big in 2010 but wouldn’t get into specific numbers. Karen Ackerman, the AFL-CIO’s political director, told reporters on Wednesday that the labor federation will be active in 18 states, will campaign in gubernatorial and Senate races and will likely have a role in 60 to 70 House races this election. She declined to give a dollar amount.
No dollar amount, but we know that it is
"even more than the $53 million laid out in 2008 to elect President Obama and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate."
Hmmm...where have I heard the phrase incumbent protection before? Oh right
, it was this Elena Kagan quote:
"Campaign finance laws...easily can serve as incumbent-protection devices, insulating current officeholders from challenge and criticism. When such laws apply only to certain speakers or subjects, the danger of illicit motive becomes even greater..."
Indeed it would seem illicit
if we were to suddenly see new campaign finance laws proposed that would impose "stifling regulatory pressures
" on some speakers and not on others, particularly if the speakers exempted from such pressures historically spent over 90% of their money supporting the party proposing the legislation. Illicit, immoral, cynical, despotic, un-constitutional...so many adjectives, none of them good.