Following the Wisconsin union smackdown the AFL-CIO has announced its decision to shift funding from political candidates to bolstering its own infrastructure and advocacy. Probably wise, as critics are calling the failed recall a death knell for unions.  

AFL-CIO spokesman Josh Goldstein was very careful in his initial conversation with Washington Whispers to emphasize that the decision is not an indictment of Obama’s failed leadership in the Wisconsin recall. Which, of course, means that it is.  

While there were "a lot of different opinions" about whether Obama should have gone to Wisconsin, according to Goldstein, "this is not a slight at the president."  

Contrast Goldstein’s comments with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s in May: “Trumka threatened to reduce support for the Democratic party and launch ‘an independent labor movement’ if Democrats didn't more fully support the union agenda.”  

We’re not sure how much more pro-union Democrats could be, particularly in Colorado, where union “Get Out the Vote” efforts have been largely spearheaded by union-backed organizations.

According to, unions have given a total of $5.1 million to Colorado State House and Senate candidate since 1996. The public sector unions alone have given nearly $2.75 million to the same races. Frighteningly, these numbers don’t even calculate money to statewide candidates, statewide ballot initiatives, gubernatorial candidates, or independent expenditure committees (e.g., 527s or SuperPACs).

After the fallout from Goldstein’s statement, he sought to clarify the method behind their madness, saying:

"Some candidates will get more, some less, some the same — but overall we'll be focused more on spending resources to build our own structure [that] works for working people instead of others' own structures."

We wonder which legislative candidates still will receive union “Thank You” money in Colorado. Union donations should be a good barometer of how large of a drain on the system each candidate either has been or promises to be. Stay tuned…..