AFSCME's decision hinged on a specific policy issue that you might think the UNCF would care about:
In a letter to UNCF president Michael Lomax, AFSCME’s Saunders called the Kochs “the single most prominent funders of efforts to prevent African-Americans from voting.” Lomax’s appearance at the Koch brothers’ annual summit, where they plot conservative strategy – this year’s focus was taking back the Senate in 2014 — was “a betrayal of everything the UNCF stands for.” Members of AFSCME, a union that supports Democrats with money and people power, voted unanimously to back Saunders’ decision at their annual convention in Chicago last week.That's key. It's not just that the vast majority of the money the Kochs gave the UNCF will go not to the general pool of applicants for UNCF funding, but to the Koch Scholars program for students studying "how entrepreneurship, economics, and innovation contribute to well-being for individuals, communities, and society" (can you say "well-funded effort to train up black conservatives"?)—it's that the UNCF president went and spoke at a right-wing strategy conference at which other speakers included Charles f'ing Murray, notorious purveyor of the claim that black people are genetically less smart than white people. That is some serious bad judgment right there, and it's not crazy to think it's the kind of bad judgment that can maybe be bought by a $25 million donation.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders and 15 percent of the union's membership are African-American. The union is also deeply committed to getting out the vote—while the Koch brothers are deeply committed to voter suppression. Parting ways with an organization apparently climbing aboard the Koch gravy train seems like a very good idea, don't you think?