True or False: Unions are the largest contributors to political candidates, and that’s why they’re influential.
Answer: False. Unions contributed $313 million to political candidates in 2007-08, the last election cycle for which comprehensive data is available. That seems like a lot, until you consider the $2 billion — yes, with a B — that business poured into politics, including $254 million funneled through their lobbyists. Unions — public and private sector — contributed a total of 9 percent of political donations, while business contributed 58 percent. (Most of the rest came from political parties and issue-based organizations.) And remember, that was before the Citizens United decision, which didn’t really change how much unions can spend but unleashed corporate spending.
Source: Data compiled by the National Insitute on Money in State Politics and the Center for Responsive Politics.