Fact: Taxpayer Resources Are Being Used for Politics

One of the biggest myths used to oppose paycheck protection is the claim “union dues money can’t be used for politics” despite all evidence to the contrary

Nevertheless, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13 David Fillman still propagated the myth on a local union radio show saying, “And that’s the lie that they’re spinning out there, that your union dues are being used for political purposes, absolutely false.”

Absolutely false? Not quite. There are two problems with this claim:

First, state government and school districts collect union PAC money—that is, campaign contributions—through the same payroll process as union dues, deducting it from workers’ paychecks just like taxes.  Despite efforts to “get money out of politics,” taxpayers continue to subsidize the collection of campaign contributions, in many cases happening right under the Capitol Dome.

Second, while union dues cannot be given directly to candidates, they can be used for radio and TV ads (on issues or “independent ads” supporting candidates), lobbying expenditures, get out the vote efforts, endorsements of candidates, and even fundraising for their political action committees (PAC).  In 2012, the state’s main government unions reported that they spent nearly $5 million of member dues on political activities and lobbying.  

Below are a litany of examples of government union political action—funded by dues collected using public resources.

Lobbying Against Taxpayers’ Interests

Attack Ads on Elected Officials

Endorsements and Hit Pieces

Lobbying Against Needed Reforms and for Higher Taxes

Fundraising for Campaign Contributions with Dues Money