Union Fails To Kiss CBC’s Ring. CBC Angry.

February 19th, 2008at 07:52pm Posted by Eli

Well, SEIU’s gone and done it now. They backed an actual progressive in the MD-04 Democratic primary over a pro-war, pro-corporate corruptocrat, and the Congressional Black Caucus is… displeased:

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are seething at the Service Employees International Union for the group’s involvement in helping to defeat Rep. Albert Wynn (D-Md.) in a primary last week, the latest manifestation of what some say is a larger problem that exists between the two groups.

Following a closed-door CBC meeting on Wednesday, the day after Wynn’s landslide loss to lawyer and community activist Donna Edwards (D), CBC Chairwoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) plans to reach out to SEIU President Andrew Stern and request a meeting to discuss caucus members’ concerns.


Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and several other CBC members said there was palpable anger within the group over Wynn’s treatment. He said members believe the eight-term lawmaker did not have an anti-labor voting record and they are perplexed as to why he was so aggressively targeted.

“The Black Caucus members are very upset,” Cummings said last week. “I’m very upset. I think my fellow members think he didn’t deserve that.”

Anti-Wynn ads paid for by SEIU’s Committee on Political Education blanketed local airwaves in the final weeks before Tuesday’s primary. SEIU-COPE reported spending at least $875,000 to communicate to voters in Maryland’s 4th district on Edwards’ behalf, with the bulk of that going for television advertising.


Wynn voted in favor of the Iraq War resolution in 2002 and bankruptcy reform in 2005, two positions that Edwards hammered the incumbent on during the race. She also pointed to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate political contributions Wynn had accepted in an effort to paint him as more beholden to industry interests than his constituents.

“Our members did not feel that Al Wynn was representing their interests anymore,” Mueller said. “The Representative wasn’t listening to the constituents in his own district.”

Here’s the part that really disturbs me, though:

[A CBC member who wished to remain anonymous] said that aside from the union’s involvement in Wynn’s primary, his colleagues are upset about the “glaring disparity” in SEIU’s political action committee giving to vulnerable Democrats compared to its contributions to CBC members, most of whom sit in politically safe districts but have strong voting records on labor issues.

“It’s very disheartening,” the CBC member said, pointing out that SEIU represents a membership that is largely made up of African-Americans and minorities while the union’s leadership is majority white.


The Member asserted that CBC members are less likely to receive the maximum contribution from SEIU’s PAC largely because they are considered safe politically.

According to CQ MoneyLine, SEIU doled out a little more than $1 million to federal candidates and PACs in 2007. Of that amount, at least $98,000 was distributed among 22 members of the CBC and their PACs.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said the CBC needs to have a broader discussion with SEIU about the union’s pattern of giving.

“We have a need to talk with our friends in labor about the disparity in giving to those of us who have tremendous records,” Hastings said.

So… let me get this straight. The CBC is mad that SEIU isn’t donating to members who… don’t need it? I assume that SEIU is making strategic decisions on how best to leverage limited financial resources, so to me it makes perfect sense to focus their donations on candidates who need it rather than candidates in safe seats. To me it sounds like the CBC is not asking for help so much as demanding tribute.

Maybe the CBC is just used to corporate donors who use their deeper pockets to buy loyalty rather than elect progressives.

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Labor,Politics,Wankers

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