The Minneapolis Star Tribune investigates independent political spending over the last few election cycles. The results are stark, but won’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention:
A Star Tribune analysis of campaign finance records found that just three dozen individuals or entities have contributed more than $27 million to political action and independent expenditure committees over the past three election cycles. The analysis shows those donations heavily favored Democrats. Unless that trend is reversed, Republicans could find themselves at a disadvantage heading into the 2014 elections….
One union — the powerful Education Minnesota teachers union — poured $4.8 million into election efforts, nearly all of it benefiting Democrats. Alida Messinger, a longtime DFL contributor and former wife of Gov. Mark Dayton, donated at least $1.6 million to Democratic political action committees. …
Since 2007, Democrats and their supporters consistently raised and distributed more money than their opponents. Even with the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed businesses to give money directly to political action committees, business interests and Republicans have not kept up. …
In the last six years, union contributions dominated donations to state political action committees. State and national unions spent $17 million in Minnesota between 2007 and 2012. Businesses, newly empowered to spend after the Citizens United decision, directly donated about $3 million.
The Strib identifies a handful of major contributors that account for more than half of all independent expenditures in Minnesota. It says that the big money “heavily favor[s]” the Democrats, but never reports the exact totals. Still, from the numbers the paper does report, the conclusion is obvious. The situation is getting worse, too, as Democratic money dominated the 2012 election even more than prior cycles.
Minnesota might be an extreme case, but there is no doubt that the Democrats’ alliance of unions and rich people will put Republicans, the party of the middle class, at a financial disadvantage for the foreseeable future.