Republicans Don’t Like SEIU And ACORN, But There’s More To The Story

It’s hard to criticize when voting records and bank accounts have long memories, especially when it comes to ACORN.

Republicans have successfully targeted ACORN this year, and have recently expanded the net to include Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for working with ACORN.

But a public documents search shows Republicans have received political donations from SEIU, as Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) had to acknowledge when calling for the census to sever ties with the massive union.

In addition to Kirk’s $2,500 donation in 2003, SEIU has given a few thousand here and there to House Republicans, including Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA).

Documents show the Republican Governors Association has taken more than $750,000 in donations from SEIU since 2004, including a $100,000 check on March 5, 2007.

Also taking SEIU cash? The GOP’s host committee for the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, to the tune of $50,000. And Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who scored $2,500 from the SEIU political action committee in October 2006 just before the GOP lost power in Congress.

These numbers are tiny compared with the fundraising and active campaigning SEIU has done for the Democrats, and it’s no secret which party the unions prefer.President Obama has made several moves since taking office to make it easier for unions to operate, though the looming Employee Free Choice Act battle is far from over.

An RGA spokesman pushed back when asked about the SEIU donations to the group, noting the DGA surely has received exponentially more. (They have.)

An SEIU source said roughly 30 percent of the group’s members are Republicans – with that figure being higher in super-red states like Wyoming and lower in other parts of the country. The union prides itself on Republican outreach.

Democrats also have been happy to point out that Republicans now carping about ACORN voted during the Bush administration to approve budgets funding Housing and Urban Development. And HUD turned around and gave money to ACORN for housing projects.

In all, ACORN received more than $27 million in federal funding during the Bush administration through the HUD budget. The Republicans voting for those HUD appropriations: Boehner (R-OH), Cantor and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).

Seems a bit of a stretch, but certainly could be used in an attack ad suggesting the Republican in question “voted to fund ACORN.”

A House Republican aide laughed off that suggestion, saying it’s pretty weak since the allegations about ACORN mismanagement and fraud only surfaced in recent years. Not to mention if they voted down the HUD budget, the attack ads would play it as voting against housing for poor people.

Late update: A Democratic source poked the RGA, sending over this list of other donations made to the group by unions.

United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America (as Working for Working Americans)
$100,000, 4/29/2009

Building & Construction Trades Department (as Coalition to Defend the American Dream)
$25,000, 3/30/2007

IUPAT (Painters)
$25,000, 08/08/2008
$15,000, 10/05/2007
$15,000, 10/05/2007

International Assn of Fire Fighters
$25,000.00, 01/18/2008
$25,000.00, 01/08/2008

The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education
$10,000, 08/22/2008
$25,000, 03/05/2008

National Education Association
$15,000, 06/21/2007
$450, 10/13/2008

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