Monday, October 5, 2009

2 More Labor Organizations file with SBE

Two new kids on the block in today's VPAP update on new PAC registrations.

1. SEIU Committee on Political Education or SEIU COPE is a Federal PAC. Check them out at Service Employees' International Union already has several funds investing in Virginia. Registering SEIU COPE brings them to 4. The others are the SEIU Local 32BJ NY/NJ American Dream Fund, SEIU District 82-Washington, DC, and the SEIU Headquarters 527 Committee. No idea why there are so many, unless it's just to make it harder to figure out how much they're spending. We'll know more with the Oct 15 reports.

2. Mid-Atlantic Community Fund is a 527. That makes it difficult to track down. There's a similarly-named 527 at OpenSecrets called the Mid Atlantic Leadership Fund (see here). And an organization with the same name has filed reports with D.C.'s Office of Campaign Finance showing mostly labor organizations as donors (see here). It also shares an address with the Working Families for Change, a labor PAC that gave $9,800 to Brian Moran's gubernatorial campaign.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

AFT Registers with SBE; Has history of spending in Virginia

The American Federation of Teachers registered today as an out-of-state PAC with the State Board of Elections.

In 2007, they gave $10K to Gov Kaine's Moving Virginia Forward PAC.

In 2005, they contributed $32,500 to the Virginia AFL-CIO's political spending.

So far the National Education Association is in for $21,000 and the Virginia Education Association is in for $26,400, so it won't take much for the AFT to catch up.

Jody Wagner, $15K from AFSCME, and Collective Bargaining

Check out this press release from Bill Bolling's campaign--Wagner, who has received $15K from AFSCME, has two positions on collective bargaining for state employees--she's for it when NFIB asks and against it when Virginia Free asks about it.

You can guess what she told AFSCME about her position.

Wagner Can't Get It Right Header

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Wagner Takes Big Money from AFSCME and Conflicting Positions on Collective Bargaining for State Employees

Recent reports that the mega-union American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has given a $400,000 last-minute donation to the gubernatorial campaign of R. Creigh Deeds have highlighted just how important Big Labor considers a Democratic victory in Virginia this year.
But Big Labor isn't just banking on Deeds; they are also heavily invested in the campaign of Jody Wagner for Lieutenant Governor.
Unions have dumped nearly $100,000 into Wagner's campaign, hoping that a victory in her race will help them undermine Virginia's status as a Right to Work state.
Additionally, Wagner has solicited $15,000 in political contributions from AFSCME itself, a labor organization that strongly supports unionization and collective bargaining for public employees.
But what is Jody Wagner's position on collective bargaining for public employees?  It appears to depend on who asks the question.
When asked on the National Federation of Independent Business survey if she supported "legislation to allow the Commonwealth or local governments to enter into collective bargaining agreements with public employee unions or associations," Wagner checked "yes."
However, when asked on the Virginia FREE survey whether she supported "legislation to grant public employee associations the right to binding arbitration, "meet and confer," and collective bargaining," Wagner answered "Oppose."
While these two answers are in direct conflict, a Wagner spokesman amazingly told the Washington Post that the two positions were not in conflict saying, "I believe those are consistent".(Washington Post, 9/18/09)
The fact that Jody Wagner says that she supports collective bargaining for state employees on one survey, opposes it on another survey, while taking thousands of dollars from the state employees union, should be very concerning to Virginia voters. 
Collective bargaining for state employees is another issue where Jody Wagner Just Can't Get it Right.  Virginia needs a Lieutenant Governor they can trust.  Virginians cannot trust Jody Wagner, but they can trust Bill Bolling.
This isn't the first time Wagner has contradicted herself.  During her campaign for Lieutenant Governor, Jody Wagner has repeatedly taken positions that are inconsistent, inaccurate and hypocritical.  For example:
  • Jody Wagner claims that she helped restore fiscal responsibility to state government, but she refuses to take responsibility for her overly optimistic revenue projections that have caused over $7B in budget shortfalls and resulted in massive spending cuts to education, public safety and health care and the elimination of more than 2,000 state jobs. 
  • Jody Wagner takes credit for creating 200,000 jobs during the Warner/Kaine administrations, but she ignores the fact that unemployment has doubled since she became Secretary of Finance, and 144,000 more Virginians are unemployed today than when she took office. 
  • Jody Wagner has attacked Bill Bolling for missing meetings of certain Boards and Commissions that he sits on as Lieutenant Governor, even though she missed numerous meetings of important economic development and job creation boards that she sat on as Secretary of Finance.
  • Jody Wagner mismanagement the state budget, and when the magnitude of her financial mismanagement became apparent she quit to run for higher office.  She didn't even bother to stick around and help clean up the mess she had created, putting her personal political ambitions ahead of her responsibility to the people of Virginia.


Paid for and authorized by Bolling for Lieutenant Governor 09.

Bolling for Lieutenant Governor | P.O. Box 8205 | Richmond | VA | 23226

Another Kind of Giving

So far, VALaborMoney has focused on direct contributions from Big Labor to candidates.

Today's report of 20 field staffers being funded by AFL-CIO reminded us of another category--Independent Expenditures or IE.

Of course, AFL-CIO's payment of salary for 20 field staffers today isn't the first IE in the race. Check out the list at VPAP.

We'll be keeping you posted about future IEs on the Twitter Feed.

So far, AFL-CIO has reported 3 prior IEs and the Intl Brotherhood of Painters & Allied Trades reported a $50,500 IE for transportation to mobilize union members.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who are these unions anyway?

All these big labor organizations giving in Virginia have long and confusing names. Are there really boilermakers in the world today?

This post provides information on some of the unions making big contributions and links to their sites.

The largest contributor, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), an AFL-CIO member union, represents employees in public service. Despite their members having the best employer-based health care benefits available, AFSCME lobbies and campaigns on behalf of socialized medicine. They also oppose government efficiency efforts. AFSCME has given over $1.5M so far. AFSCME Local 3001 has also made nearly $7,500 in contributions.

The AFL-CIO itself, through its Virginia organization and one of its regional labor councils, Northern Virginia Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, has contributed over $235,000 so far. AFL-CIO is a federation of 57 national and international labor uinons. AFL-CIO's biggest current agenda is enactment of card-check, legislation to take away secret ballot elections and force binding arbitration on employers, ironically introduced as the Employee Free Choice Act.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU), comes in around $235,000 as well given by their National organizations, and SEIU Local 32BJ (If everything from Connecticut to Florida is "local"). SEIU's top priorities are socialized medicine, card-check legislation, and criticizing chambers of commerce (you know the one's with companies who create jobs).

And, coming in at around $100,000 to date, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, has a Department of Boilermakers' History Preservation, so, while there may not be boilermakers any more, the IBB has expanded to cover workers in construction, ship building and maintenance, ship yard operations, railroads, and appliance manufacturing. Apparently, they also got the memo, their top priorities are socialized medicine and card-check legislation.They also have an interest in preventing tort reform to protect personal injury lawyers and continued insecurity in energy production.

That covers four of the labor organizations most active in the 2009 Virginia elections. Our next post will review more players in the $75,000 to $100,000 range.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How much Labor Money has Come in so far? $2.8M

As of August 31, Labor Unions had contributed at least $2.8M.

Candidate committees reported receipts on 9/15 for the period ending 8/31.

Party Committees and PACs last reported receipts on 7/15 for the period ending 6/30. Their next reports will be due on 10/15 for the period ending 9/30.

Contributions by 527s, or exceeding $10K are reported within 3 business days of being made, so some contributions that will be reported on the next set of filings are included in the $2.8M figure.

How do you track Labor Money in Virginia Politics?

The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) is the best resource for tracking money in Virginia politics. Bar None.

Virginia's campaign finance laws, among the best in the country, have no limits, but require full disclosure. VPAP adds value to the public postings by the State Board of Elections, allowing easier access to the data.

The best way to track labor money is, of course, to review the Candidate Committee, Party Committee, and PAC filings to see from whom they receive Labor Money.

Fortunately, it's also possible to track large contributions by Labor between reporting periods because out-of-state 527s and any donor giving $10,000 or more, must file reports on a short time frame.

I compile data from VPAP's Contributions by Industry page, checking "Organized Labor" and "Public Employees." I also review VPAP's 527s page and the $10,000 Contributions to PACs (or the 10K) page.