Seems Fair To Me

On Saturday, The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the logical next step after the Supreme Court decision that mandatory government union dues violate the First Amendment.

The article reports:

In 2018, Mark Janus convinced the Supreme Court that mandatory government union dues violate the First Amendment. Now he wants his money back.

After his triumph at the High Court, Janus asked a federal trial judge to require the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) pay out about $3,000 in agency fees the union collected from his paycheck between 2013 and 2018. The judge declined and Janus lost on appeal, prompting a new petition to the Supreme Court.

So-called right-to-work cause lawyers including the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Foundation are litigating some 30 cases that collectively seek $120 million in garnished wages for public sector workers. Public sector unions proved surprisingly resilient after the Janus decision, seeing modest increases in membership and limited losses of revenue. Judgments ordering restitution to aggrieved workers, however, could vindicate doomsayers who predicted the end of agency fees would devastate organized labor. Approximately 5.9 million public employees paid mandatory fees prior to Janus, a massive pool of prospective plaintiffs.

The article concludes:

Trial judges in about two dozen other cases and two appeals courts have reached the same conclusion and rebuffed worker attempts to recoup lost wages. If allowed to stand, those decisions “are likely to doom all such cases,” Janus’s petition to the High Court warns.

“This Court should grant review so the employees in these suits can recover a portion of the ‘windfall’ of compulsory fees unions wrongfully seized from them,” the petition reads.

Other Janus follow-on cases are currently pending before the Supreme Court. One petition asks the Court to declare the so-called integrated bar unlawful under Janus. Integrated bar rules require lawyers to join a state bar association and pay fees as a condition of practicing law. Another petition asks whether employers can designate a union as the sole representative of its workers in collective bargaining.

The Court will hear the case in its next term, which begins in October, if it grants review. AFSCME’s response to Janus’s petition is due on April 9. The case is No. 19-1104 Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31.

Open Secrets details some of what the dues paid to AFSCME were used for:

In the 2016 races, almost all of AFSCME’s more than $1.7 million in candidate contributions went to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. The breakdown is similar in the 2018 election cycle — more than 99 percent of its $1.1 million in candidate contributions so far have gone to Democrats.

The AFSCME also contributes millions of dollars to liberal outside spending groups.

The union has given roughly $3.6 million to outside spending groups in the 2018 election cycle alone. More than 70 percent of that spending has gone to a super PAC called For Our Future, which was formed by labor unions to support Democratic candidates. Sky Gallegos, who is listed as For Our Future’s treasurer, is the Democratic National Convention Committee’s deputy CEO for intergovernmental affairs.

The union gave just over $11 million to outside spending groups in 2016, and about half those contributions went to For Our Future.

The AFSCME has lobbied Congress on right-to-work policies, according to lobbying disclosures. The union’s lobbying efforts overall have totaled than $2.3 million annually since 2009, peaking at $2.9 million in spending in 2011.

Union dues account for much of the money in politics. If people who choose not to join the union are not required to pay union dues, this will impact political campaigns in America.

How Outside Money In Politics Can Impact Future Elections

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about a barrage of outside spending by a 527 group led by billionaire activists George Soros and Tom Steyer which impacted governor and legislative races in several targeted states. The ultimate goal of the targeting was to redistrict specific states in order to make it easier for Democrats to be elected to the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) believes one of the reasons Republicans have enjoyed a lengthy majority in the House of Representatives is because of gerrymandered house districts. Because state legislative bodies usually draw house districts, the NRDC was trying to elevate some of these elections by putting a national veneer on races that usually come down strictly to local politics.

Drawing new house districts will begin again after the completion of the 2020 census, which is why the NDRC is making such a strident push now in what they call a “fight to shift the balance of power away from Republicans before redistricting occurs in 2021.”

After the election the NDRC’s website boasted, “We won governors’ races in 8 states: Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia (in 2017.).”

The website further claimed, “We flipped 6 legislative chambers: Colorado Senate, Maine Senate, Minnesota House, New Hampshire House and Senate, and the New York Senate.”

Nearly all of the states mentioned were the select spending targets of State Victory Action, a 527 fund established just this year, and which was overwhelmingly funded by Soros, Steyer, and to a lesser extent, Donald Sussman.

Representatives with Steyer, Soros, as well as the NDRC did not return requests for comment, including questions about whether there was coordination between State Victory Action and the NDRC.

For an example from the list on the NDRC’s site, Democrats (technically members of the Democrat Farmer-Labor Party) won a majority in Minnesota’s state house of representatives.

Using a pass through committee, State Victory Action donated millions to Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

Although I don’t like to see that kind of money from outside a state poured into state races, there is something we all need to remember here–every American is responsible for his own vote. We have the option of doing our own research and not being swayed by an abundance of campaign ads for a particular candidate. Money is important in elections, but as Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush proved in 2016, all the money in the world will not elect a candidate who is not supported by the electorate. George Soros and Tom Steyer do not represent me, but they do have the right to donate to any candidate they choose, just as I do.

Follow The Money

I need to say up front that I have no idea how to clean up the money in politics. In cases where a political action group had to list their donors, those donors were vulnerable to economic or physical attacks, so that is a problem. Yet we need more transparency regarding the money in politics. Opensecrets.org is a good source of information, but no one is telling us who is paying for trips, lunches, and dinners in Washington. It is interesting to see how much money is being spent on various elections. That information provides some insight into what political parties think is at stake.

The Daily Caller posted an article today stating that according to federal campaign finance data, environmentalists have outspent the oil and gas industry more than 2-to-1 so far this election cycle. Wow. The obvious question is, “Where is their money coming from?”

The article explains:

About $14 million of environmentalist spending this cycle came from organizations, while around $29 million came from individuals affiliated with eco-groups and causes, according to CRP data.

Spending from individuals, however, almost exactly match spending by San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer, who founded the environmental group NextGen Climate Action. Steyer’s given NextGen more than $29 million this election cycle, CRP figures show.

Steyer was the single largest donor in the 2016 election cycle, spending more than $89.7 million, and bundled donations for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Steyer made his name among liberal activists opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

All but $250,000 of Steyer’s outside spending this election cycle went to NextGen Climate Action. The money Steyer didn’t give the environmental group went to his multi-million dollar “Need to Impeach” campaign.

We know that money does not buy elections. If it did, we would have either President Jeb Bush or President Hillary Clinton. Both candidates outspent President Trump by large amounts. The American people (I think and hope) are smart enough not to be bought by money, although money pays for campaign ads which do have an impact.

 

 

The Money In Politics

It’s time for a reality check on who is buying our elections. According to opensecrets.org, some of Hillary Clinton’s top contributors to her campaign include Emily’s List (a pro-abortion group), a few major Wall Street investment firms, the US Government and US State Department (how is that legal?), and Time Warner, a major player in cable television and media. Donation amounts from major donors ranged from over $600,000 to about $250,000. The Donald Trump campaign donations paint a very different picture. According to opensecrets.org, Donald Trump’s top donations came from a couple of financial institutions and various companies I have never heard of. The top donation given was $150,000 and the smallest donation listed in the major donation list was about $10,000. Big money and big investments are supporting Hillary. Why? She will continue the status quo where big money people continue to make big money and non-elites continue to make less. And of course, these numbers do not include any money taken from the Clinton Foundation used for travel expenses and other things. The money that does not have to be spent on travel expenses (because the Clinton Foundation can legally fund travel expenses of the Clintons) can be used for attack ads targeting Donald Trump. The 2016 election will determine whether or not elections can be bought in America.