government union political spending election

Government Union Political Spending in the 2021–22 Election Cycle


  • According to campaign finance reports and union financial disclosure statements, Pennsylvania government unions have spent $169 million on politics since 2007, making government unions a top special interest in Harrisburg.
  • This is an overview of government union political action committee (PAC) contributions during the 2021–22 mid-term election cycle. As of now, expenditure data is available for all of 2021 and up to September 19th of 2022. Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, has received $1,000 from government union PACs, approximately 0.028 of what the Democratic Party’s nominee Josh Shapiro has received.

Gubernatorial Race

  • Government union leadership has given to Josh Shapiro’s gubernatorial campaign often and generously.
  • So far, Shapiro in 2021 and 2022 (through mid-September) has received $3,575,900 from government unions and $4.684,000 from trade unions.
  • Mastriano has received $1,000 from government unions via two $500 donations from the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association and the Fraternal Order of Police’s PA State Lodge.
  • Shapiro’s $3,575,900 in receipts from government unions is approximately 72 percent of what Mastriano has raised from all sources.

Down Ballot Expenditures

  • Government unions have spent significant money on legislative races and have donated almost exclusively to Democratic candidates. Nine of the ten largest recipients of government union money are Democrats. In total, 90.6 percent of all government union campaign contributions went to Democratic candidates or PACs.
  • Spending trends continue in contributions to party campaigns. Contributions to the Democratic Party and Democratic committees are 7.5 times higher than contributions to Republican counterparts.
  • Government unions also finance groups involved in elections. For example, the Pennsylvania Fund for Change receives funding from groups such as America Votes, the Fund for Student Success, PA Alliance Action, and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, all of which receive contributions from government unions.[1]
    • Pennsylvania Fund for Change recently released a list of “target races” for the upcoming Pennsylvania state legislature elections.[2]

Looking Ahead

  • According to campaign finance reports, government unions have spent just shy of $10 million dollars this election cycle. However, campaign finance reports are lagging indicators of expenditures. This year’s most recent reporting cycle covered June 7 through September 19. Expenditures from September 20 to October 24 will not be released until late October.
  • State government union PACs have a combined $6.3 million in cash on hand. As the election approaches, expenditures will increase, and future reports will reflect this.

[1]Americans for Fair Treatment, “Where Do Your National Union Dues Go?” accessed October 5, 2022,

[2]Pennsylvania Fund for Change, “Target Races,”