From The Weekly Standard, The Koch Brothers, Unions, and the Democratic Party’s Campaign Finance Delusions by Mark Hemingway.
And in the few instances where union members were asked specifically to approve their dues going to politics, the results are damning. After a 1992 law passed in Washington, the state teachers union — an NEA affiliate — was required to get written approval from every teacher to get donations for the union’s political action committee. The result? “Enrollment in the PAC plunged from 49,000 to 11,000 in just a year. Its annual receipts fell from roughly $588,000 to $132,000.” It’s also worth mentioning that the NRA has 4.5 million members — all of whom pay dues voluntarily! And yet, no Democrats, as far as I can tell, are saying criticism of the group’s political spending is illegitimate because the organization is so large as to confer a degree of representative legitimacy.
Believing that the Democrats have far fewer corrupting influences is central to the party’s self-image, and, ironically, their fundraising efforts. But the party of unions, trial lawyers, and Wall Street is living in delusion. The constant untruths and exaggerations about the Koch brothers’ influence is about maintaining that fiction so Democrats can feel good about their rank hypocrisy, their self-righteous attacks, and coercive methods of financing elections. It has very little to do with genuine concern about rich people buying elections.