Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon reports that a new analysis of union financial disclosure forms reveals that Big Labor spent more than $2 billion on political activity during the 2018 midterm election cycle.
The findings, issued by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR), show that "Union officials spent $1.37 billion directly from union treasuries (filled with forced dues and fees) on politics, dwarfing the reported combined political spending of George Soros, the Koch Brothers, and Hollywood during the same period." More money not spent from union treasuries brought the total number to "$2,006,441,571 in union political expenditures."
McMorris notes that the "watchdog group analyzed federal labor filings that disclose how much unions spend on political activities at the federal, state, and local level, as well as Federal Election Commission records collected by OpenSecrets.com."
Stan Greer, the author behind the report, told the Free Beacon, "Big Labor is increasingly turning its focus away from workplace matters and more and more towards buying political influence."
Likewise, the $2 billion figure is a conservative estimate. The actual number is most likely way more than $2 billion. This is due to a variety of reasons including the fact that "NILRR chose to mostly ignore the $514 million of union reported ‘Contributions, gifts, and grants' that are heavily misclassified."
For example, "Union officials misclassified several hundred million dollars more in union officer’s political and lobbying expenses which were misclassified as ‘Contributions, gifts, and grants' on their union disclosure reports," NILRR's research notes. "The National Education Association (NEA) paid $14 million to a 501(c)4 organization, but incorrectly identified it as a non-political lobbying expense on their USDOL financial disclosure report."
Mark Mix, president of NILRR's sister organization the National Right to Work Foundation, told the Free Beacon that, "It's no surprise that Big Labor unloaded their multi-billion-dollar war-chest in the 2018 election cycle to push for candidates willing to grant union bosses enormous privileges in direct opposition to worker freedom. Union bosses spend employees’ hard-earned money to support political agendas that undermine the rights of the employees they claim to ‘represent,' and in the 23 states that lack Right to Work laws, private sector employees are forced to subsidize these politically active private organizations with a cut of their paychecks."
Editor's Note: In the interest of transparency, the author of this article used to work as the National Right to Work Foundation's communications manager.