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Unions aren’t the biggest spenders

To the editor:

A recent letter to the editor claimed to show that “unions outpace corporations by a large margin” in political contributions. Please let me cite some real figures from a highly reliable source: (1) Unions were 27 percent of the workforce in 1979. Today they are 7 percent. (2) In 2009-10, there were 2,593 business trade associations and they contributed $333 million to PACs. There were 272 labor unions and they contributed $69 million to PACs. (3) From 1998 to 2010, business interests and their trade groups contributed $28.6 billion for lobbying efforts. Labor spent $492 million, a 60 to 1 ratio. (4) In 2006, there were 12,785 registered business lobbyists. There were 403 registered labor lobbyists. (5) In the 2010 Congressional elections, business contributed $972 million in soft contributions. Labor contributed $10 million. Need I go on? Do you see a pattern here?

These are a few of the figures I found in the book, “Who Stole the American Dream?” by Hedrick Smith. In each case, the figures were footnoted and documented for their source, such as the Senate Office of Public Records, Congressional Research Service, etc. I won’t bore you with more. It is obvious to me that the letter-writer was choosing figures to make his false point. He was totally mistaken!

Rick Miller


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