Union halting power repair crews is top Democratic donor

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, cited in news reports for halting nonunion repair crews from helping to restore power in superstorm Sandy's New Jersey-New York path, is one of nation's top union donors to Democrats, a group President Obama last year praised in a visit to an IBEW training Center.

The Center for Responsive Politics, a public political spending watchdog, said IBEW has the nation's fifth highest spending political action committee, doling out nearly $2.3 million, 97 percent of which went to Democrats. According to the group, IBEW during this election cycle has given $2,928,973 to Democratic House and Senate candidates, and just $51,600 to Republicans. They have also helped raise money for Obama.

Among the recipients were political figures and groups in New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania, key political battleground states.

News organizations today are reporting that nonunion crews from Alabama were approached by IBEW officials telling them to join before going into the disaster areas.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the IBEW is the top industrial union contributor, which earned it the center's "heavy hitter" designation.

While the president has wooed IBEW, they snubbed him this year when it came time to help fund the Democratic National Committee because the party chose non-union North Carolina to host the event.