Remember: all of this -- almost all of this -- goes to help Democrats.

Later today, the AFL-CIO will announce that its executive board approved a $53 million budget for its 2008 political program, the largest ever sum for a political cycle.

AFL-CIO political director Karen Ackerman will oversee the deployment of more than 200,000 volunteers to 23 priority states, including Ohio, pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Five house seats in "union-dense" districts and six Senate seats will be targeted.

In Ohio, where union households comprised 28% of the vote in 2006, the AFl-CIO plans to reach out to more than 1.4 million voters.

The labor federation will partner with other groups and use reams of consumer data to market precise political messages neighborhood-by-neighborhood.

"Our members are building an army to make more calls, knock on more doors and turn out more voters than ever,” said AFSCME President and AFL-CIO Political Committee Chair Gerald McEntee. “We're going for the Trifecta: the House, the Senate, and the White House.”

In total, the AFL-CIO unions will spend about $200 million on Election 08 efforts, according to AFl-CIO estimates.

Virtually all of that money will be used to help Democrats.

Republicans have nothing like the AFL-CIO. And for the first presidential cycle in recent memory, the Democratic Party institutions will have a financial edge.

And there's more: next week, the Change To Win labor federation will meet to sketch out its political program. One CTW union -- the SEIU -- plans to spend in excess of $30M by itself.

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