Union Political Involvement and Reform of Campaign Financing Regulation

The spiraling costs of political campaigns 5 and the continuing significant role played by unions and corporations in the financing of those campaigns call for an examination of section 610’s efficacy as a prohibitory statute. This article will focus on the use of labor union funds in the financial aspects of national politics. It will first discuss the loopholes in section 610: those loopholes created through narrow judicial interpretation of the statute and those resulting from its imprecise drafting. Particular emphasis will be placed upon an analysis of the sources of funds available to unions for political activities and the political uses for which those funds may be expended. Attention will also be given to the practical and constitutional difficulties inherent in section 610’s attempt to circumscribe labor’s participation in national politics. Various proposals for rectifying section 610’s inadequacies will be presented and their viability will be evaluated. Finally, the author will propose and attempt to justify what he deems to be a more realistic approach to the union’s proper role in campaign financing.