There must be some pretty upset tummies over at the New York Times today.  Their lead story reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is now the largest “non-party” campaign spender, shoveling out $21 million so far to support Republican candidates, and coming in fourth among all spenders with only the National Republican Congressional Committee, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee spending more.   Oops. Not so fast….

It obtains that another New York newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, also made campaign spending its lead story today, and its article identified AFSCME, the nation’s largest public employees union, as “spending a total of $87.5 million on the elections, after tapping into a $16 million emergency account to help fortify Democrats’ hold on Congress.”

The Times seems to have overlooked AFSCME’s activity, although AFSCME’s boodle tops the three largest players listed by the Times combined.   Seventh of the Times list was SEIU, another powerful union player — but no AFSCME.  How could this happen?

Well, there are three possibilities:

  • the Gray Lady somehow managed to miss a political presence with a campaign budget bigger than the Democratic or Republican parties.  Hard to believe.
  • The Times deliberately omitted AFSCME to make its story more damaging to the C of C.  Harder still to believe.  No one is that stupid.
  • The Journal is wrong.  Hardest to believe.  When it comes to counting, we’ll take the Journal over the Times eight days a week.

So we’re going with number one.   They just missed it.  Period.  Either way, it must be a very eerie experience to pick up your biggest rival’s front page and find yourself skewered like a deer haunch at a hunt campfire.  Hmmm…did someone mention food?  Right.  Into the stewpot,  Mssrs. Lipton, McIntire and Van Natta.  You would think with three of you working on this story, one of you would have noticed $87.5 million.

Note:  In its online story, the Times prints a much larger chart, with fifteen organizations (as opposed to the ten on its print edition):

Here, the Times does list AFSCME, but at number 11, with a scant $7.9 million.  That’s some difference from the Journal number, and now we do suspect the Times is doing some figure jiggling.  With any luck, we’ll get some discussion on this topic from the Journal, at least.