Democrats seeking the White House can usually count on cash donations from some of the same journalists who cover them — though the journalists themselves are not necessarily aware of this conflict of interest and their participation in it is rarely disclosed by their news organizations.
The donations occur through the 700,000-member Communications Workers of America — the umbrella union for guild journalists at the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and other papers, as well as for many TV and communications workers. The CWA has been one of Bernie Sanders’ biggest contributors throughout his Washington career, records show. In December, following a vote by its members, the union endorsed the avowed socialist in his contest with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The dues the union collects from its members have bankrolled other Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi, James Clyburn, Keith Ellison and Steny Hoyer in the House, and Elizabeth Warren as well as Sanders in the Senate. Since 2008, the union, which gives 97 percent of its money to Democrats, has contributed more than $8.7 million to federal candidates, according to OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan aggregator of political spending. While the union has logged $13,500 in contributions to Sanders so far in the current campaign, it is hedging its bets, giving his primary opponent Clinton $15,000, a figure observers expect to increase if, as expected, she wins the Democratic nomination.