The lead: Freedom Foundation Urges Candidates to Reject Union Money!
The quote: “I can’t imagine anything more despicable than stealing someone’s own money to elect a candidate he or she opposes,” said Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe.
The "research": UnFree Speech: Most Washington Unions Fund Political Campaigns with Compelled Dues
The problem: Max Nelson, Freedom Foundation labor analyst, seems to think that the WEA only had $153,000 in voluntary contributions. This would be interesting, because that would mean that each of the 30,000+ members of WEA-PAC was only paying $5 a year, when it's really $27.
How'd he screw that up? By getting way too cute with the "Advanced" tab on the PDC website. Instead of simply looking up WEA-PAC numbers for 2012 at this link (where it shows almost $750,000 in small contributions) he mucked around in a detailed view that almost understates the case that he's trying to make because Max confused the WEA and the WEA-PAC.
Wait, what? In 2012 alone WEA-PAC spent $2.5 million dollars, most of it focused on the McKenna vs. Inslee contest. Max ignores that money to focus on what the WEA gave to WEA-PAC for office space ("Overhead") and a secretary ("Employee Services"). His line on the WEA casts doubt on $672,000 when there's a $3.7 million dollar story one PAC over. How you write about WEA political spending without writing about WEA-PAC is beyond me.
So when the Freedom Foundation tells politicians not to take WEA money because it's tainted....? The correct response is that it's WEA-PAC money, backed by tens of thousands of members, and that the Freedom Foundation got the facts wrong.