Agreed: Public Resources Should not be used for Politics

“Public resources are not supposed to be used for partisan political purposes.”

So says Barry Kauffman of Common Cause PA in a Tribune Review article. What Mr. Kauffman and other critics were referring to was allowing campaign staff to participate in a meeting held in the state capitol. They are seemingly concerned about the blurred lines between government roles and election activities.

What is odd is that the critics have been silent about, or even supportive of, the practice of using taxpayer resources to collect campaign contributions in that same state capitol. 

As we’ve noted before, public resources—including staff time and payroll systems—are used to collect Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions that can be given directly to candidates. The state Treasurer alone collects and transmits more than $700,000 each year to union PACs, while school districts and local governments collect millions more.

This is on top of the hundreds of millions collected in government union dues, at taxpayer expense, that are given to “SuperPACs” to fund election ads.

These services offered to union leaders to collect their political money have real and measureable costs. While the marginal costs of payroll deduction for union PACs may be small, it is infinitely more than the nonexistent cost of a campaign staffer sitting in a taxpayer-funded chair for a meeting.

Public resources shouldn’t be used for partisan political purposes? We agree. That’s why we hope Common Cause and other so-called “good government” reformers will support us in fighting for paycheck protection.