Politico's Glenn Thrush touts a Center for Responsive Politics report that "the main Democratic sponsors of the Employee Free Choice Act ... both collected over $1.7 million in union contributions over the last two decades."
But Thrush left this out, from the same CRP report:
Business PACs not only gave nearly five times more in campaign contributions than labor PACs did in the last election cycle ($365.1 million versus $77.9 million, including contributions to leadership PACs) they are backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $144.4 million on lobbying efforts in the 2007-2008 election cycle, or more than $400,000 for every day Congress was in session. By contrast, the entire labor sector spent less than $84 million on lobbying efforts during those two years.
Which raises an obvious question: How much money have those members of Congress who oppose the Employee Free Choice Act taken from big business? Any news report that focuses only on campaign contributions from labor to EFCA supporters while ignoring contributions from business to EFCA opponents is fundamentally flawed.
It is worth noting that Thrush did provide one important piece of context too often missing from news reports on campaign contributions: Thrush noted the percentage of the sponsors' total fundraising that the union contributions represented. That should be a standard part of any news report about political fundraising. The reason should be obvious - a candidate who raises a total of $1 million, $90,000 of it from tobacco companies is in a far different situation from one who raises the same amount from tobacco companies, but a total of $20 million.