The AFL-CIO has told Washington Whispers it will redeploy funds away from political candidates smack dab in the middle of election season, the latest sign that the largest federation of unions in the country could be becoming increasingly disillusioned with President Obama. The federation says the shift has been in the works for months, and had nothing to do with the president's failure to show in Wisconsin last week, where labor unions led a failed recall election of Governor Scott Walker. "We wanted to start investing our funds in our own infrastructure and advocacy," AFL-CIO spokesman Josh Goldstein told Whispers. "There will be less contributions to candidates," including President Obama. While there were "a lot of different opinions" about whether Obama should have gone to Wisconsin, according to Goldstein, "this is not a slight at the president."
They're denying that this decision represents any form of retribution for Obama's controversial decision to literally fly over Wisconsin in the midst of a contested, high-stakes election for organized labor. Maybe this shift truly was in the works for months, maybe not. Motivation aside, this move could have a significant adverse impact on Democrats' ground game in the fall:
The shift in funding is significant due to the federation's role in past presidential campaigns, where the AFL-CIO built up a massive political structure in the months leading up the election, including extensive "Get Out The Vote" efforts, as well as financial contributions.
This news comes on the heels of a new poll showing Mitt Romney running five points ahead of John McCain among union households, and in the aftermath of Walker's decisive victory -- in which he attracted nearly four in ten union-affiliated votes. Parting thought: Should Wisconsin Lefties really be bitter over The One's conspicuous absence on the ground? After all, his mystical "lightworker" presence did wonders for Creigh Deeds, Jon Corzine, Martha Coakley, dozens of 2010 Democrats and Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid.
UPDATE - It appears many liberals have moved on from MoveOn.org:
Fundraising messages from MoveOn.org’s political-action fund are taking an increasingly pessimistic and frantic tone. A recent message declared, “If we can’t increase our budget, we’re going to have to pull the plug now on some absolutely crucial campaigns.” According to documents filed with the FEC, MoveOn.org Political Action raised $9.1 million in contributions from January 2011 to March 31, 2012. In that same period, the group spent $10.5 million, and it has $2.75 million left in cash on hand. With just under five months until Election Day, and additional fundraising efforts ongoing, those totals are certain to increase. Still, it is a dramatic drop from last cycle and all the preceding cycles except one. By March 31 in the 2010 cycle, MoveOn.org Political Action had raised $18.5 million; by that date in the 2008 cycle, $14 million; in the 2006 cycle, $11.8 million; and in the 2004 cycle, $2.79 million — but that was in the first 15 months of the PAC’s existence. The group would need to have a surge in new donations to keep pace with past cycles, never mind past presidential cycles.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography