Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform—a new “SuperPAC” (technically an “Independent Expenditure Committee”) registered in August—has spent about $2.5 million on attack ads in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court race.
Who is funding the group? Not surprisingly, nearly half their money (45 percent) came from government unions—with the lion's share coming directly from union dues, not PAC contributions.
While union dues cannot be given directly to candidates, they can be used for independent expenditures and SuperPACs.
The rest of Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform's budget comes primarily from the political action committee of Philadelphia trial lawyers, the “Committee for a Better Tomorrow,” and the unknown entity, “PA Alliance.” Public Source investigated PA Alliance and found they too have union ties (and are linked with Pennsylvanians for Accountability, another union-funded attack group).
The problem isn't that unions give a lot, or even that they dominant political spending. The problem is government union dues and campaign contributions are collected at taxpayer expense using public resources.
Not only does this give government unions an unfair political advantage, it undercuts members' voice. Unlike every other political group, government union leaders never have to ask for contributions, they just take it out of workers' paychecks.