Source: Roland Zullo, Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Vol. 10 no. 2, June 2007
This essay examines the strategy of political voluntarism, defined as a neutral political affiliation, by testing whether or not union political action committee (PAC) donations to congresspersons in the 2000 election cycle affected their roll call votes in subsequent years. Results indicate that overall, the Republicans became more antilabor in their roll call patterns after the election of George W. Bush, and that labor PAC donations did not moderate this shift. Democrats, however, became more prolabor in their roll call voting, and this trend was likewise independent of labor support. Finally, there is no evidence that congresspersons retaliated against labor when an electoral rival was supported. These findings underscore the importance of political parties in shaping public policy and challenge the utility of a labor political strategy that is party neutral. A strategic alternative, political idealism, is discussed.
Source: Robert Bussel, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 32 no. 2, June 2007
…To be sure, many legislators exhibited an appreciation of the union movement’s political role, especially its fundraising ability and capacity to mobilize volunteers for electoral activity. However, members of the United Labor Lobby believed that the focus on specific pieces of legislation and the logistics of campaign support tended to obscure political leaders’ understanding of the underlying values and motivations involved in shaping labor’s political priorities. As a result, the United Labor Lobby and LERC agreed to develop an educational program that would address this knowledge gap and provide Oregon legislators with a broader perspective regarding unions’ fundamental beliefs and their larger social role.
Source: Americans for Prosperity Foundation, May 22, 2007
As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to consider landmark lobbying reform legislation this week, the free-market Americans for Prosperity Foundation released a new study showing an explosion in the amount of taxpayer money spent by local governments and public universities to lobby Congress – often to secure pork-barrel earmarks for local pet projects — since 1998.
Using data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and pulled from federal lobbying disclosure forms, the AFP Foundation study found a whopping 148 percent increase in overall federal lobbying spending by local governments, transportation authorities, public water utilities and state governments, including public universities, between 1998 and 2006.
Public universities led the way, increasing their spending on federal lobbying efforts by 213% (from $10.1 million in 1998 to $31.7 million in 2006,) followed closely by a 193% spending increase by local governments (from $20 million in 1998 to $59 million in 2006.) At the same time, the number and cost of pork-barrel earmarks, often awarded to public universities and local governments, skyrocketed at almost exactly the same pace, the study showed.
– Full Report