Diary

Chicago-on-the-Hudson?

Our own Mark Impomeni has today’s top story at Human Events.

Perhaps taking a cue from the hardball Chicago political tactics of President Obama and his cadre of Windy City advisers, state Senate Democrats in New York sent a fundraising letter to local union bosses last week that even Democratic activists described as, “pay-to-play run-amok.”  The chairman of the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, State Sen. Jeff Klein, told union leaders that they could secure seats on a soon-to-be-created “Labor Advisory Council” for donations of $50,000 to the Democratic campaign. “Advisory Council chairs,” said Klein, “will have the unique opportunity to advise the Senate [Democrats] on the structure and focus of the Labor Advisory Council.  In addition to all meetings, conferences and events that are included with Advisory Council membership,” the letter continues, “the advisory chairs will be invited to an exclusive meeting with the Senate majority leaders [and] will actively participate in the essential policy conversations that help construct our 2010 campaign strategy.” Republicans charge that the letter is part of a two-step strategy to squeeze money out of the unions, usually a reliable source of campaign contributions for the Democratic Party at both the state and national levels.  Republicans charged that majority Democrats first announced $180 million in budget cuts aimed at state workers’ unions, then sent the letter as a signal to the unions that the funding would be restored once contributions started flowing in.