The Money in Politics Dems Don’t Mind
Corporations can throw untold millions at immigration reform without complaint.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg


Andrew Stiles

How do special-interest donors get away with spending upward of $100 million on a cause most Americans oppose?

When that happens, don’t pundits rail against Big Business and the influence of “money in politics”? Liberals redouble their efforts to overturn Citizens United, right?

Not if it’s the immigration debate. In almost any other context, the Left would be up in arms to stop a legislative push backed by “corporations,” “billionaires,” and “special interests” on such a massive scale.

Instead, they boast that “literally everyone supports immigration reform.” More accurately, Representative John Yarmuth (D., Ky.) observed, “There is no money on the other side of the issue. There is nobody out there ready to spend $100 million against this.”

Within the 39 percent minority of Americans who think immigration reform should be a priority in 2014 (compared with roughly 100 percent of political pundits), there is no shortage of powerful players willing to spend millions to make it a reality. Opponents of comprehensive reform have . . . Heritage Action, a handful of tea-party groups, and not much else.

The deep pockets of the coalition backing immigration reform are pretty impressive.

Given the diffuse nature of the groups involved, and the prevalence of undisclosed donations and indirect spending — things that tend to annoy liberals — it’s hard to put a precise number on how much has been spent in support of immigration reform since the idea resurfaced in 2013. The total number is probably well over $100 million.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the most prominent institutional backers of the Gang of Eight legislation, spent more than $50 million on lobbying last year. They were joined by the AFL-CIO and SEIU, unlikely allies for the Chamber but similarly profligate when it comes to politics.

Kochophobes and other advocates of campaign-finance reform didn’t protest when top Republican donors, along with individual billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Bloomberg, launched their own lobbying efforts, or when the CEOs of corporations such as Walmart, Boeing, Microsoft, Disney, Marriott, General Electric, McDonald’s, Hewlett-Packard, Alcoa, and AT&T; the entire Business Roundtable; and even News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch joined those efforts.