Big Labor Eyes the Super PAC Playing Field

AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka with President Obama.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/popsicle2/5556102473/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Unalienable Rights</a>/Flickr

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The AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation in America, is considering launching its own “super PAC.” The move would allow the labor group to rake in unlimited amounts of campaign cash from inside and outside its affiliated unions to spend in state and federal elections. If the new political action committee gets the final stamp of approval, the Associated Press reports, it would join more than 100 super PACs already raising and spending money to influence the 2012 elections.

The explosion of super PACs onto the political scene came after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the door to unlimited political spending by corporations and labor unions. Here’s more from the AP on the AFL-CIO’s plan to potentially capitalize on that decision:

The move would also help steer more of labor’s money to state legislative battles, where unions have been battling efforts to curb union rights in states like Wisconsin and Ohio.

“The essential idea is that changes in the law for the first time really allow the labor movement to speak directly to workers, whether they have collective bargaining agreements or not,” AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer said in an interview. “Before, most political resources went to our own membership.”

Labor leaders discussed the plan at the AFL-CIO executive council meetings earlier this month, but officials said the idea remains subject to final approval over the next few weeks.

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We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

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