"[U]nions are (c)(5)s and don’t disclose...is that the business as usual? Or does that make them shadowy?" Jim Dyke, one of the GOP consultants on the board of American Crossroads, asked on Twitter today.
There are elements of this comparison that make sense. The same collapse in campaign finance restrictions that allow unlimited corporate spending allow unlimited union spending.
But when it comes to disclosure, talk of unions is a red herring. While they aren't required by the FEC or IRS to disclose donors, a separate piece of federal law, the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, requires that unions disclose all sources of income that adds up to more than $5,000, a requirement overseen by the Department of Labor. As a result, unions disclose more than many political groups about their internal operations, and certainly more than than do 501(c)(4) nonprofits like Crossroads GPS or 501(c)(6) groups like the Chamber.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
In attribution theory, the fundamental attribution error (sometimes referred to as the actor-observer bias, correspondence bias or overattribution effect) is the tendency for people to over-emphasize dispositional, or personality-based, explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior. In other words, people tend to have a default assumption that what a person does is based more on what "kind" of person he is, rather than the social and environmental forces at work on that person. This default assumption leads to people sometimes making erroneous explanations for behavior. This general bias to over-emphasizing dispositional explanations for behavior at the expense of situational explanations is much less likely to occur when people evaluate their own behavior.
The term was coined by Lee Ross some years after the now-classic experiment by Edward E. Jones and Victor Harris. Ross argued in a popular paper that the fundamental attribution error forms the conceptual bedrock for the field of social psychology.