Can’t cue the crickets, they’re on another union break

Eh, we can expect conspicuous silence from the left about big money in politics.  We’re talking huge money:

Previously, union spending since 2005 was thought to be about $1.1 billion — a lot of money to influence policy by any standard. That was based on donations to candidates for office and related spending on their behalf that must be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission. Most reporters have relied on this source for their stories.

But the unions are also required to disclose their spending to the Labor Department. The Journal reporters obtained those reports and found that they are much more detailed. They also include spending on activities to persuade rank and file members how to vote, lawyers, commissioning polls, and funds to support protest activity, like the sit-ins at the Wisconsin state capitol last year.

Add all that together and those expenditures come to a whopping $3.3 billion (!) since 2005, bringing the total to $4.4 billion for the period. The National Education Association alone spent about $340 million over this period.

As Mark Hemingway of the Weekly Standard notes, this broader portrait is based new disclosure rules put in place by the Bush administration. Big labor has been pushing to have them removed ever since. Not hard to guess why.

Delicious irony: George Bush made our political process a little more transparent….much to the dismay of Barack Obama.

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