We recently questioned the timing of the Center for Media and Democracy’s decision to allow itself to directly take funding from unions. A reporter with Watchdog.org contacted CMD head Lisa Graves for comment, and received a curious reply. We’ll let Watchdog explain:
Graves called the undisclosed union donations “a small percent of its overall funding.” […]
“After I became the leader of CMD, we began a review of our policies and practices, and it was my view that the Supreme Court was wrong in Citizens United to equate corporations and unions and that the old policy reinforced that so we changed it,” she said of the landmark court decision that lifted campaign finance restrictions.
Graves’s view seems to be that using union money for political advocacy is OK while using business money isn’t, just because she says so. This stinks of rank hypocrisy, and Graves’s pathetic deflections show just how weak and self-serving her position is.
It’s also undeniably false that unions provide “a small percent of [CMD] funding.” Department of Labor disclosures by unions (the only way we could figure out that CMD gets union funding) reported $118,000 in itemized union payments to CMD in 2013. That was about 14% of the organization’s contribution and grant revenue, according to tax returns.
And what about Graves’s defense on the timing of CMD’s union support flip-flop? Well, it doesn’t seem to match the facts. Graves took over CMD in 2009, and the union funding policy didn’t change until very late 2010. The timing of the “final decision” remains very, very suspicious.