FEWER THAN ONE TAXPAYER IN NINE CHECKS THE BOX on Form 1040 to allocate $3 of his or her taxes as “clean” money for the “Presidential Election Campaign Fund.” Only 11 percent of us check this box because we all know that more of this money would go to candidates we oppose than to those we support.
Taxpayers also recognize that this “clean” money has done nothing to stop dirty politics. Democratic candidate John F. Kerry, e.g., got $75 million in Federal funds in exchange for agreeing to stop his use of special interest money, but extremist-left 527 organizations such as MoveOn.org closely linked to Kerry’s campaign continue to fund tens of millions of dollars of anti-Republican TV hate ads in a shameful circumvention of campaign finance laws.
But if you have been required to join a labor union, and like up to 40 percent of union members you vote Republican or independent, a sizeable chunk of your forced union dues is being spent to elect Democrats. And this is done without the union bosses needing to get your prior consent or check-off before they make partisan use of your money. The astronomical amount of political money thus coerced from workers is the lifeblood of a Democratic Party that has been losing power and popular support for more than half a century. If this illegitimate power to “tax” millions of unconsenting workers for the benefit of leftwing politicians were removed, the Democratic Party would shrink to Third Party status or disappear entirely almost overnight.
How much money are we talking about? According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, between 1990 and 2002 the 100 biggest special interest groups donated to federal candidates and political parties $1,008,942,542.00.
Of the top ten of these 100 groups, six were labor unions. The biggest single contributor was the government employee union AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), which alone donated $30,671,426 – more than 98 percent of this money to Democrats. By definition, this union favors higher taxes and bigger government, and its government workers never worry about their jobs being exported to Indonesia. The second biggest contributor was the National Education Association (NEA), the giant 2.7 million member union of public school teachers, which donated $21,116,383 – 95 percent of this money going to Democrats (and most of the rest going to the most liberal Republicans running in primaries, not general elections, to tilt the political playing field even farther left). Other unions among these top ten political contributors are the Teamsters ($18.8 million, 93% to Democrats), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($18.3 million, 98% to Democrats), Communications Workers of America (telephone company workers, nearly $17.6 million, 100% to Democrats) and SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, most of whose members get paid directly or indirectly with government money ($17.6 million, 97% of it to Democrats). These six unions by themselves donated $124 million out of coerced member dues, almost all of it to Democrats.
Of the top 20 special interest group political contributors identified by this Center for Responsive Politics study, 12 were labor unions, the bottom six of which donated between $15.5 and $17.6 million apiece, in most cases with 99 percent of this money going to Democrats. These included the Carpenters & Joiners Union, the United Auto Workers, the Laborers Union, Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union and the AFL-CIO’s NEA rival the American Federation of Teachers. These 12 unions together funded politicians and parties – in nearly every case Democrats – to the tune of nearly $224 million.
Even these staggering numbers reflect only a fraction of union political donations, which also come in the form of shock troops to man phone banks, distribute campaign literature, carry signs and get out the vote on election day. At one recent Democratic National Convention unionized communications workers donated their labor to wire the hall, but at that same year’s Republican Convention the same union’s workers charged top dollar for their work. The National Education Association (NEA) alone has 1,800 UniServe workers who act as political operatives more full-time paid political operatives who work all year, every year for this single labor union than work full time for the Republican and Democratic National Committees combined. In a presidential election year this army of union “volunteers” is tantamount to a political donation of more than $100 million to Democrats.
Campaign Finance Reform, we were told, was going to free our politics from the undue influence of wealthy special interest groups and greedy rich individuals. The new law, about which co-author Senator John McCain (R.-Arizona) now says little, turns out to stifle ordinary citizens, who may broadcast no political ads to give voice to their opinions for 60 days prior to November general elections. But the law was designed to include loopholes through which leftwing billionaires like George Soros – who says outright he is prepared to spend $75 million or more of his own money to defeat President George W. Bush because Bush makes America too powerful and independent in the world – and specially-chartered 527 interest groups can continue to spend tax-exempt ”soft money” on political advertising without limit.
Of the top 20 of these 527s with the most money to spend during the 2004 election cycle, five are owned and bankrolled by organized labor. According to required Internal Revenue Service filings as of August 9, 2004, the 527 of the Service Employees International Union (which all by itself has pledged $65 million to elect John Kerry) is armed with more than $20 million. The 527 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has $17.3 million. The AFL-CIO’s 527 is flush with more than $6.7 million. The Laborers Union 527 has nearly $2.7 million, and that of the Communications Workers of America has $1.95 million.
Second only to SEIU among these cash-stuffed 527s is the Democrat-supporting Joint Victory Committee 2004, a joint fund-raising committee run by two far-left groups, America Coming Together (ACT) and the Media Fund. JVC’s total receipts as of August 9, 2004 were $41.68 million and total expenditures were $35.78 million.
And where did JVC’s Democrat-boosting cash come from? The usual extreme-left suspects: three of JVC’s top four contributors are George Soros/Soros Fund Management ($4.55 million), the mob-connected Stephen Bing and his Shangri-La Entertainment ($6.96 million) and Peter B. Lewis and his Progressive Corp. ($7.75 million). [But all three gentlemen in addition also have their own separate 527s – Lewis’ worth $14 million, Soros’ worth $12.77 million, and Bing’s worth $8 million….combined assets of nearly $35 million. Soros’ and Lewis’ spending, according to former Clinton political strategist Dick Morris, is being coordinated by former Clinton White House political puppet-master Harold Ickes.]
We were supposed to stop the influence of wealthy individuals in our politics, but these three wealthy leftists have bankrolled these anti-Bush 527s to the tune of more than $53 million! How much political influence do you suppose this unholy trinity will have if John Kerry becomes President?
Other top JVC contributors include Loral Space & Communications, the Clinton-supported company accused of transferring military missile technology to the People’s Republic of China, and Time Warner, the Viacom-owned MTV networks, Wenner Media headed by Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, the Museum of Modern Art, Costco Corp., the Federal and state taxpayer-funded University of California Berkeley and a bevy of Hollywood leftist folks.
This election should put to rest a long-defunct piece of political mythology – the idea that Republicans are the party of the rich supported by the wealthy. In 2002 fully 92 percent of political contributions by those who gave $1 million or more went to Democrats, the real political party of the rich. Of the top 100 individual political contibutors during the 2002 election cycle, 21 of the biggest 25 gave entirely or almost exclusively to Democrats. Of the other four who gave predominantly to Republicans, two gave a significant portion (10% and 35%) of their total donations to Democrats. The top nine of these contributors – who included the aforementioned filmmaker Stephen Bing and Bernard Schwartz of Loral Spacecom – each gave 98 percent to 100 percent of their contributions to Democrats….total donations from just for these nine adding up to more than $37 million.
And this only begins to scratch the surface of the tidal wave of leftist money buoying John Kerry, a tidal wave of hundreds of millions of dollars triggered by leftist fear verging on panic that the entire political power base of organized labor and the socialist left’s welfare state will be lost if President Bush is re-elected in 2004. These groups are spending as much money for this one election as they have during the entire past 14 years combined….and perhaps even more.
The Kerry-Edwards campaign has already put in place 6,000 lawyers – most of them from another of his biggest backers, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) to tap every legal gimmick and Democrat-appointed judge in America to challenge and attempt to overturn the November election if President Bush wins.
All this is being done in violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of our election laws and democratic traditions. We are witnessing an attempted coup d’etat, an overthrow and theft of our government.
The first wave of this coup was the passage of campaign finance reform, which stifled the voice of ordinary people. Because of its bizarre new rules, which overthrow the Bill of Rights guarantee of the right to free speech, only the politicians, the wealthy like Soros, and those who own networks and publications will have the right to broadcast their views within 60 days of this November’s elections. As Evan Thomas of Newsweek observed weeks ago, the leftist advantage in the establishment media was already worth 15 percent of the vote to Kerry.
Republicans used to overcome this leftward media tilt with paid advertising – but George Soros, the unions and other forces of the left have now provided more money from 527s than President Bush will have to offset and shout down the Republican message. This is the second wave of the coup.
If President Bush wins, the third wave of this attempted coup d’etat will be a plague of lawyers, lawsuits and Democrat judges declaring the election null and void by invoking every memory-addled voter, every malfunctioning voting machine and every other technicality they can muster or concoct. As happened in 2000, this leftist legal and propaganda barrage will be intended to overturn the election – or, failing that, to declare the second Bush term illegitimate and be used to justify all political efforts to obstruct it. Above all, these leftists are determined to roadblock politically President Bush’s ability to appoint judges, especially Supreme Court justices who would hand down rulings that might restore the U.S. Constitution. To leftists, that would be a nightmare and the end of their dreams of imposing socialism on the world.
Just how far we have departed from our Constitution is also evidenced by the latitude labor unions have been given since the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to require workers to join, coerce workers into paying union dues and get away with using violence against those who do not bend their knee to union bosses.
Technically a union worker can ask for the return of the political portion of dues money. In the same way, genuine democracy existed in the former Soviet Union, where voters on election day could drop their ballot supporting the Communist Party in the regular box – or could request a special ballot that had to be put in a separate ballot box next to the KGB agent who wrote down the names of all who did not vote for the ruling Communist party. Union workers can likewise go to their union boss, thereby identifying themselves as a target for reprisal, mistreatment or even violence by asking for return of the political portion of their dues.
Where, we wonder, are those sensitive civil libertarians who argue that it is intolerably intimidating for a student to avoid participation in a moment of silence or the Pledge of Allegiance – these same libertarians who keep silent on this issue of union intimidation of and theft from workers? As Linda Chavez, co-author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics, noted on my radio show, the few union workers brave enough thus to make themselves targets have been rebated only 18 cents or less per year by unions whose bookkeeping is deliberately kept vague or secret.
Will America survive this rolling coup d’etat by Soros, the unions and the radical left? That is the test of courage and determination that each of us faces at this live-or-die moment in our nation’s history.