New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the world’s wealthiest men, has a reputation as a social liberal, and fiscal conservative. He also has a strong dislike for unions, and that may be behind what appears to be a campaign against postal unions being conducted by the Bloomberg media empire.
Earlier this week Bloomberg.com featured a story headlined “Postal Union Millions to Democrats Roils Saturday Cuts”, claiming that union contributions to Democratic Senators were blocking action on postal reform:
Political action committees for the seven postal unions contributed $9.6 million from 2007 to 2012 to current members of Congress, 91 percent of it to Democrats and two independents who caucus with them, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group.
One slight problem with the Bloomberg claim is the fact that the Senate actually passed a postal reform bill last session. Meanwhile the House, apparently less tainted by contributions from union PACs, never even bothered to vote on the bill proposed by Darrell Issa, when it became clear that even his fellow Republicans opposed it.
And that $9.6 million in contributions sounds like a lot, until you consider that it came from the small, voluntary contributions of thousands of middle class working people. It also pales in comparison to the money given to politicians by none other than Michael Bloomberg himself!
According to the New York Times, Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC contributed $9.3 million to congressional candidates in a single month! (Remember that the union contributions Bloomberg finds so troubling occurred over a period of six years!) Bloomberg also gave another $2.5 million in personal contributions to various candidates.
It’s also worth noting that when you lump together all public sector unions as a bloc, they barely make the list of the top twenty interest groups contributing to Congressional campaigns. By far the biggest sources of campaign money are corporate interests- led by people like Michael Bloomberg.
But don’t expect to read about Michael Bloomberg’s attempts to buy influence with legislators in the publications he owns. Instead, you’ll see pieces like “Al Franken’s Fanciful Post Office Fix“, which, although presented as a news story, maintains the strident anti-union bias of the earlier item, pointing out that “Democrats are heavily supported by postal worker unions”, while failing to mention any of the millions of dollars contributed to Republicans by corporate and far right groups.
If you’d like one more reason to worry about biased coverage of labor unions, consider this: in December, Angela Greiling Keane, the author of the “Postal Union Millions to Democrats Roils Saturday Cuts” article, was elected President of the National Press Club.