State Senate Champions Political Fairness with Paycheck Protection

Contact: Gina Diorio, 862-703-6670, [email protected]

State Senate Champions Political Fairness with Paycheck Protection

Two-Thirds of Likely Voters Want to End Gov. Union Political Privilege

October 14, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Today, the state Senate passed historic paycheck protection legislation to stop public resources from being used to collect political union dues and campaign contributions on behalf of government union leaders.

“It’s common sense that public resources should not be used for private, political gain,” commented Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. “Recent polling confirms public support for this reform—with nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvania voters backing paycheck protection. We congratulate the Senate for standing up to special interests and demanding fairness for taxpayers and public employees.”

Public Support for Reform

More than two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters believe we should stop using taxpayer resources to collect union dues and campaign contributions, according to a September 2015 poll of 700 registered voters. This support transcends all political parties.

Paycheck Protection Support






Total Support





Total Oppose











Additionally, 80 percent of union households believe taxpayer resources should not be used to collect campaign contributions, according to a 2014 poll.

Ending a Blatant Conflict of Interest

Paycheck protection would end the conflict of interest that exists when elected officials oversee public resources that collect government union political money—money which can be sent right back to the same officials at election time.

“The magnitude of the political machine government union leaders are running on the taxpayers’ dime cannot be overstated,” Brouillette said. “The most recent election cycle saw government unions give more than $10 million to political candidates, including $3.4 million to Governor Tom Wolf—money collected using public resources.”

$10 Million in Campaign (PAC) Spending from 10 PA Gov. Unions


2013-2014 Expenditures



PA SEIU            


AFSCME  “People”


AFSCME Council 13


American Fed. of Teachers


Phila. Fed. of Teachers


UFCW 1776




Pitt. Federation of Teachers


American Fed. of Teachers PA






“The problem isn’t just direct campaign contributions—government unions spend millions more from members’ mandatory dues money on political activity, including sending that money to SuperPACs to fund campaign ads,” continued Brouillette. “Since 2007, Pennsylvania government unions have reported a staggering $46 million on political activity and lobbying from union dues. There’s just no good reason that government should be facilitating government union political operations.”

Brouillette concluded:

“Governor Wolf began his administration touting transparency, gift bans, ethics pledges, and ending conflicts of interest—even prohibiting executive branch officials from accepting a free cup of coffee. How much more critical is this reform that affects millions of dollars spent to support political candidates, including the governor himself? If Wolf’s pledge to foster a ‘government that works’ is more than just rhetoric, he should support this commonsense reform.”

For more information on paycheck protection and government union political spending, visit

Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 to schedule an interview.

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