Paying for democracy

Meanwhile, Nevada Democratic leaders are starting to panic over lagging fundraising to pay for the January caucuses, which must have one meeting for every voting precinct in the state, all on the same day. Former state Senator Mike Sloan, who is raising money to pay for the caucuses, told the Las Vegas Sun he thinks that because labor unions have benefited from caucus publicity, they should pony up: “Organized labor has had the spotlight in Nevada. Given the attention that they’ve gotten, I’d like to see them make a significant contribution. … I don’t know if the overwhelming attention paid only to labor unions is helping us raise money from the business community. To the extent that it has any adverse effects, we’re going to have to work through it.” (Sounds like a threat.) Sloan specifically names SEIU, AFSCME (which has already staged a Carson City forum of the presidential candidates), and the Culinary’s international. Of course, by Sloan’s publicity formula, the Latino community would also have to pay. More to the point, Sloan is a casino exec who has contributed to campaigns for Republicans Dennis Hastert, Jim Gibbons, George Allen, Spencer Abraham and John McCain, so his judging the Democratic bona fides of labor unions may go down hard for workers. Meanwhile, rank and file Nevada Democrats say they have another candidate who’s on the hook for the cost of the caucuses—Harry Reid. One local Democratic official says, “We didn’t ask for this caucus stuff. It was Harry’s idea.”