-By Robin Bravender
March 15, 2012- The AFL-CIO, the largest organized labor group in the United States, wants an immediate crackdown on super PACs.
The union federation on Wednesday afternoon adopted a policy statement saying it supports the overturning of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
“The Citizens United ruling has opened the floodgates to massive spending by corporations and even more so by wealthy donors,” says the resolution adopted at AFL’s winter meeting in Orlando, Fla. “They are pouring money into our electoral system and threaten to drown out the voices of hard-working Americans. Common-sense restrictions on their spending are needed, along with robust disclosure of their contributions and expenditures—including their contributions to organizations engaged in electoral activity.”
Like corporations, the AFL and other union organizations have had their options for political spending expanded, thanks to the Citizens United decision and other recent federal court cases. The AFL and other unions have formed their own super PACs to influence federal elections this cycle, while others have donated to super PACs aimed at supporting Democratic candidates.
But unions’ super PAC spending hasn’t come close to matching that by corporations and conservative donors, and conservative groups argue that super PACs level the playing field by enabling them to compete with unions’ cash reserves.
The union says that a constitutional amendment may be needed to upend the Citizens United ruling and “protect our democracy from the economic power of the 1%, while at the same time protecting the public’s right to organize politically through democratic organizations and movements.”