Originally published on POLITICO on June 26, 2015 by By Kenneth P. Vogel and Brian Mahoney.
Big labor, which once relied almost exclusively on member dues to fund its political activity, is now hoping to raise huge checks for its 2016 efforts from billionaires like George Soros and Tom Steyer, according to confidential documents.The documents, obtained by POLITICO from a source outside the labor movement, show labor leaders have invested considerable time and union cash to secure preferential treatment from the preeminent club of major liberal funders, the Democracy Alliance, or DA. They also offer a rare glimpse into labor’s efforts to identify rich donors who could pump money into union-linked non-profits that can legally accept unlimited donations and do not have to disclose their contributors.One briefing document shows that a leading labor non-profit called Working America — which works to organize non-union workers to seek higher pay and better working conditions, and to elect sympathetic candidates — is focusing on donors it considers “true progressives (who) care about labor.” It offers detailed profiles with information seemingly intended to cultivate wealthy donors. Ian Simmons, the silent funding partner of the small-dollar juggernaut ActBlue, is described as “an up and comer at the DA,” while healthcare software pioneer Paul Egerman, an Elizabeth Warren confidant, is listed as “important in Democratic Party fundraising circles.”
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