Unions spending on campaigns, corporations not so much

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The Washington Post is reporting that organized labor is taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, leading the way in independent campaign spending thus far. However, there are a number of conservative funds sitting on large campaign warchests.


According to WaPo’s study of reports collected by the Federal Election Commission, out of $24.7M spent by independent entities so far, unions account for $9.7M. Private individuals have kicked in $6.4M, and corporations have limited their activity to $3.4M.

The union lead in spending may not last for long, however. WaPo notes that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a $75M political budget for 2010, and other conservative groups also appear poised to inject large amounts of cash into the process.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s way too early to determine what affect Citizens United, and attempts to patch political spending rules with new legislation, will have. Unions do have an advantage over corporations in one way – the latter needs to appeal to customers of all political persuasions, while unions represent a group that for the most part shares common interests.

However, corporate-friendly third party groups will likely be able to obliterate the union’s early lead, so the legislative efforts tied to this issue will likely move forward, even if they cannot be resolved in time for this year’s elections.