Now, these liberals are not totally selfless, Wilson cautions. They are human beings; they have egos; they seek affirmation. “Donors like being recognized for their philanthropic gestures.” Hedge-fund billionaire and radical environmentalist Tom Steyer, for example, “cooperated with the New Yorker when it wrote a profile of him last year.” Charles and David Koch, though, “didn’t cooperate when the magazine took a look at their political activities,” presumably because “no one needs to send the message that the better-known Koch brothers are there for Republican candidates.” So that’s why the Kochs didn’t talk to Jane Mayer.

Does Reid Wilson believe in Santa Claus? His willingness to suspend disbelief when confronted with the image of a mythic creature — the un-self-interested liberal — suggests as much. The words “labor” and “union” appear nowhere in his article, despite the fact that unions are six of the ten top all-time donors recently compiled by OpenSecrets.org, despite the fact that unions spent some $4.4 billion on politics between 2005 and 2011. (Incidentally, every member of the OpenSecrets.org top ten either leaned Democratic or split money evenly between the two parties. The Democrats are not hurting for money.)

Unions, their leadership, and their staff see political giving as “an investment,” any non-cross-eyed observer of the political scene would agree, with donations laundered back to the SEIU, AFSCME, NEA, UAW, and others in the form of generous and unsustainable pensions, wage laws benefiting closed shops over free labor, government-mandated dues and contracts, and job protections that make it difficult even for child predators to be fired from schools. That’s an ROI the hosts of Shark Tank would envy.