Documents, which the Democratic Party and unions have sued to keep secret, reveal a campaign strategy in which labor and party officials served side by side on committees that directed the Democrats' election activities in each state.
Though labor's support of Democrats is well known, the documents show labor leaders had veto power over Democratic Party plans in 1996 by virtue of their large donations and seats on the steering committees in each state.``When the DNC and its National partners including ... the AFL-CIO and the NEA (National Education Association) agree on the contents of a plan, each national partner will give their funding commitment to the state,' an internal DNC memo titled ``Rules of Engagement' said.
Lawrence Noble, the nation's former top election regulator, told The Associated Press on Thursday he was surprised by the degree of control unions held over Democratic decisions. Noble headed the investigation into GOP charges of illegal coordination between the unions and Democrats.
In addition to its usual political action committee donations, the AFL-CIO spent $35 million from its general treasury funded by workers' dues on advertising and others efforts in 1996 to help Democrats win.