Payola Democracy: Unions bet $385M and won

Heading into the 2008 elections, the Democratic Party reeled in a whopper of a catch, $385,000,000, from 57 different organized labor unions. In Q&A at Issue Friday on July 17, I misquoted that figure as coming just from the UAW and just to the Obama campaign. My apologies to that day’s attendees for the delay filing this correction; I was searching for the facts. Several articles, including those noted at the end of this post, provided interesting information on campaign giving (with expectations in return) to the Democratic Party. In fact, according to, the campaign finance monitoring website, that $385 million represents 20% of the total campaign funds raised for all Democrats at the national level. (Totals and percentages derived from this table at OpenSecrets.) One dollar of every five in the party’s overall resources came from union coffers. No wonder Dems have worked so hard on card check and on featherbedding for the autoworkers.