Democrats look to unions for convention fundraising; unions unwilling

by Laura Clawson

Struggling to raise enough money for the Democratic National Convention after rejecting contributions from lobbyists and corporations and limiting individual donors to $100,000 contributions, the Democratic party is looking to unionsto close the funding gap. There’s a big problem with that expectation, though: From the moment the DNC’s location in Charlotte, North Carolina was announced, unions have made clear their displeasure at the Democratic party holding its biggest event in a state with anti-union laws and the lowest percentage of unionized workers in the country.

In addition to their reluctance to fund an event held in an anti-union state, unions don’t want to divert money from their organizing and GOTV efforts:

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers gave $1 million in 2008, but it isn’t planning to contribute this year. It cites North Carolina’s “right to work law” that is opposed by unions, as well as labor’s need to spend money on grass-roots campaign work. “Registration drives, get-out-the-vote drives and leafleting—that’s where we can make our best contribution,” said spokesman Jim Spellane. […]One top AFL-CIO official said: “We are going to be spending our resources on membership education, not skyboxes.”

This leaves the DNC’s host committee in a bit of a bind, though, reportedly having raised less than half of its $36.7 million goal. Raising another $20 million in donations of no more than $100,000 per person is a big lift in this economy and with so much competition for the dollars of political donors. And the Democratic party absolutely earned this struggle—if you’re going to slap unions in the face with your location choice, it’s offensive to go back to them asking to be bailed out when you run into trouble.

Republicans, of course, have not imposed constraints on themselves with regard to contributions from corporations, lobbyists, or individuals.

Laura Clawson ie editor for Daily Kos Labor, where this report first appeared.

One Response

  1. How dare the Democrats choose to hold their convention at a non-union hotel in an anti-union state and then ask the labor movement to pay for it.

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