Marketplace Logo Donate

Daily business news and economic stories from Marketplace

AFSCME gets in the game

Subscribe to our Newsletters

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees joins the political spending spree with more than $2.8 million in new ads, Federal Election Commission reports show.

While the union itself has already made a handful of ad buys this election, Thursday’s buy represents the first major round of ads this season from AFSCME’s political action committee, AFSCME PEOPLE (which stands for “Public Employees Organized to Promote Legislative Equality”).

AFSCME PEOPLE launched three ads:

AFSCME the union also spent $768,000 on “Gamble,” opposing Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., who is challenging Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

The anti-Thompson ad rests on a claim that he “sold his influence to healthcare companies” as a member of a D.C. lobbying firm. Thompson, a lawyer by training, did join Washington powerhouse lobbying and law firm Akin Gump, but he was never a registered lobbyist. Politifact rated the claim “half true.”

The anti-Heller ad says that he sided with Wall Street over Nevada homeowners. Heller voted to end a mortgage relief plan for unemployed homeowners, to end the Federal Housing Administration Refinancing Program and to end the Home Affordable Modification Program.

AFSCME is one of the country’s largest unions and represents more than 1.6 million public service employees who belong to about 3,400 local chapters.

AFSCME’s PAC is subject to contribution limits but also has the freedom to contribute directly to candidates’ committees. The union itself, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, may make unlimited campaign expenditures so long as it does not coordinate with any candidates.

The PAC had a healthy $8.6 million on hand at the end of July, according to the most recent FEC report. It brought in nearly $600,000 in July, a low month for the PAC. Nonetheless, the both the union and its PAC are still dwarfed by major super PACs and politically active nonprofits.

To put it in context, AFSCME PEOPLE has spent $2.2 million, and AFSCME itself has spent about $4.8 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, the top-spending outside group, has spent $82.5 million. The second highest spender, conservative nonprofit Americans for Prosperity, has spent $30.8 million.

Like most unions, AFSCME overwhelmingly supports Democratic candidates.

In other union news, SEIU COPE, the PAC of the Service Employees International Union, reported spending $140,000 on ad production and airtime for ads opposing Republican Keith Rothfus, who is trying to unseat Rep. Mark Critz, the Democrat representing Pennsylvania’s 12th District.

The ad, “Keith Rothfus is Not on Our Side,” launched Sept. 4.

In other outside spending news:

What's Next

Latest Episodes From Our Shows

Listen
5:25 PM PDT
17:39
Listen
4:43 PM PDT
27:48
Listen
1:57 PM PDT
1:50
Listen
Aug 10, 2022
9:01
Listen
Aug 10, 2022
6:53
Listen
Jul 7, 2022
30:13
Listen
Aug 9, 2022
24:46
Exit mobile version