Last year, when an internal labor email surfaced threatening to cut off contributions to Democrats if they failed to pass the Workers Privacy Act, the Democratic Governor, House Speaker and Senate Majority leader literally called the cops on the unions, and very publicly killed the bill out of fear of even the remotest appearance of impropriety. So you’d think legislators would be equally sensitive to the appearance of a quid pro quo relationship with business interests.
The video clip above is from last Saturday’s Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing on HB 1329 — a bill which would permit child care workers to bargain collectively — and it stunningly shows Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-Maple Valley) calmly reminding her colleagues that they had promised to kill the bill in exchange for $70 million of funding from Boeing, Paul Allen and the McCaw family for the public/private “Thrive by Five” partnership:
“Not doing this bill was the bright-line promise that we made to the Paul Allen Foundation, The Boeing Company and the McCaw family that contributed the funding for this. This was the agreement: that was that we would not unionize child care centers. This was the bright line that we would not do, and I think that we need to remember that when we make a commitment to somebody that gives us $70 million, we might want to keep it.”
So when, say, the Boeing Company gives legislators a big chunk of change (and let’s be clear, that’s $70 million legislators get to spend in their districts without raising their constituents’ taxes), not only is it okay to to promise to kill a piece of legislation in return, Pflug argues that it would be downright dishonorable not to honor the promise. But when organized labor talks amongst itself about whether it should continue contributing money to Democrats who vote anti-labor… well… book ‘em Danno!
The message is clear when it comes to influencing legislation: business money good, union money bad. And since this meme is so pervasive in our local media, you can be sure that you’re not going to read about this particular outrage on the pages of, say, the Seattle Times.