Government Unions Pour Millions into Pa. Elections

Government Unions Pour Millions into Pa. Elections

Taxpayers Help Union Leaders Target U. S. Senate, State Attorney General Races

November 2, 2016, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Government union leaders have poured nearly $8 million into Pennsylvania races, according to the latest campaign finance reports. U. S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty, Gov. Wolf’s former chief of staff, is the biggest beneficiary of government union money—totaling $4.4 million. State attorney general candidate Josh Shapiro is the second largest recipient at $216,523. 

“This political money is collected and sent to government unions using publicly-funded payroll systems,” commented Elizabeth Stelle, director of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation. “While government union leaders are free to engage in politics, they should not be allowed to make taxpayers an unwilling third party to their political agenda.”

The Commonwealth Foundation has compiled the 10 Pennsylvania candidates who have received the most support from government union PACs:

Top 10 Recipients of Government Union PACs



Katie McGinty


Josh Shapiro


Rob Teplitz


Mike Hanna


Frank Dermody


Joe Markosek


Vincent Hughes


Eugene DePasquale


Linda Weaver


Leanne Krueger-Braneky


* Includes expenditures in support of McGinty or in opposition to Toomey

Source: Pennsylvania Department of State, “Campaign Finance Online Reporting,”; Federal Election Commission, “Campaign Finance Disclosure Portal.”


The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) leads all government unions in PAC spending at just under $3 million, followed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) at $1.6 million and the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) at $1.3 million.

In total, government unions have spent nearly $8 million on Pennsylvania 2016 elections so far.

Top 10 Gov. Unions by PAC Spending on Pa. Races











AFSCME, Council 13


UFCW, Local 1776


SEIU Healthcare-Pa.


Phila. Federation of Teachers




Pa. State Corrections Officers


Grand Total (All gov. unions)


Source: Pennsylvania Department of State, “Campaign Finance Online Reporting,”; Federal Election Commission, “Campaign Finance Disclosure Portal.”


“Only government unions can legally use public resources to collect money specifically earmarked for politics,” continued Stelle. “Pennsylvanians know public resources and politics shouldn’t mix: Nearly 70 percent of state voters support requiring government unions to collect their own political money. It’s time for the state Legislature to prioritize paycheck protection legislation and stop government from collecting political contributions.”

Elizabeth Stelle and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.

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