True enough, but I disagree with the implication of the article, which is too simplistic in my opinion. You have to look at the CONCENTRATION of all that money. The business community is a diverse group, with some common interests, and some interests specific to a given industry. Businesses tend to give roughly evenly to both parties while labor unions give overwhelmingly (over six times mores) to a single party, the Democrats.
Think those business contributions help Republican candidates? For the sake of argument, lets add the combination of business contributions plus union contributions, using the numbers from the article. The union money swamps any advantage to the Republicans.
Republicans: 50.61% (47.22% biz, 3.39% union)
Democrats: 57.94% (36.23% biz, 21.71% union)
According to campaign finance web site maplight.org, here are the top interest groups that contribute to California state politicians. I think that it becomes fairly obvious that some of our elected "public servants" have become servants of the public employee unions.
- Construction unions: $4,668,606
- Attorneys & law firms: $2,839,023
- STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE UNIONS: $2,683,162
- POLICE & FIRE FIGHTERS UNIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS: $2,367,871
- Native American tribes & governing units: $1,838,174
- Property & casualty insurance: $1,565,431
- Telecommunications: $1,354,935
- TEACHERS UNIONS: $1,299,214
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing: $1,219,631
- Physicians: $1,062,987
Of these groups, here are the ones that are employed by state, county, or local governments. Some of the construction unions also indirectly receive state benefits for government contracts, although that is more difficult to track. Many state and local projects MANDATE union-only employees.
Click the link to see who received money from each type of interest group.
STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE UNIONS: $2,683,162
POLICE & FIRE FIGHTERS UNIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS: $2,367,871
TEACHERS UNIONS: $1,299,214
Allow me to use my state assemblyman, Bill Monning, as an example. He received over $100,000 from these public employee unions.
- Construction unions $82,529
- Attorneys & law firms $64,144
- STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE UNIONS $55,150
- POLICE & FIRE FIGHTERS UNIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS $27,501
- TEACHERS UNIONS $23,700
- Physicians $23,040
- Property & casualty insurance $14,750
- Native American tribes & governing units $13,500
- Other unions $11,500
- Telecommunications $11,500
Bill Monning's Top 10 Individual Contributors
- Operating Engineers Local 3 $17,900
- California Medical Association $16,390
- California State Council of Laborers $15,400
- CALIFORNIA STATE COUNCIL OF SERVICE EMPLOYEES $14,400 (SEIU)
- CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION $14,400 (CTA)
- AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES $14,200 (AFSCME)
- CALIFORNIA PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS $11,901
- CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION $11,500
- SERVICE EMPLOYEES LOCAL 1000 $9,200 (SEIU)
- CALIFORNIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS $8,300 (CFT)
Still don't think that union money matters? Let's see which groups are the heaviest hitters in California politics, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
Big Money Talks - California's Billion Dollar Club
The Billion Dollar Money Train - Fundraising By Candidates For State Office Since Voters Enacted Contribution Limits
Independent Expenditures: The Giant Gorilla in Campaign Finance
These same trends continue at the national level. Here is a list of the Top 100 Political contributors. Note the organization and how much of their spending goes to a single party.