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Unions Contributed Money To Republican Lawmakers Who Voted To Overturn The Election.
2020 Election

Unions Contributed Money To Republican Lawmakers Who Voted To Overturn The Election.


Since former President Donald Trump instigated a deadly insurgency at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, corporations have debated whether or not to give money to Republican lawmakers attempting to overturn the 2020 election results. For example, Toyota initially defended such donations, then caved under public pressure last week and pledged to end them.

Labor unions, on the other hand, are a significant source of political contributions, and while they tend to funnel far more money to Democrats, some spread their contributions to both political parties, including members of Congress who refused to certify Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

Through May, at least six major unions' political action committees contributed to the campaigns of 13 of the 139 House Republicans who wanted to overturn the results of either Arizona or Pennsylvania. None of the money Stardia identified went directly to the campaigns of the eight GOP senators who objected, though some did go to a party committee that would work to support those laws.

All of these contributions were made after Jan. 6, the day Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, resulting in the deaths of five people.

Rep. Lloyd Smucker (Pa.), $2,000; Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (Pa.), $2,000; Rep. Barry Loudermilk (Ga.), $2,000; Rep. Adrian Smith (Neb.), $1,000; Rep. Ron Estes (Kans.), $1,000; Rep. Richard Hudson (N.C.), $1,000; Rep. Kevin Hern (Okla.), $1,000; and Rep. Greg Steube (Fla.), $1,000.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) contributed $5,000 to Rep. Jeff Van Drew's campaign. Van Drew, a former New Jersey Democrat who opposed Trump's impeachment and defected to the GOP in 2019, vowed "undying support" for Trump.

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), arguably Biden's closest labor ally, contributed to the reelection campaigns of two members who refused to certify Biden's victory: Van Drew ($2,500) and Rep. Rob Wittman (Va.) ($5,000). The IAFF was the first major union to endorse Biden for president during his campaign.

The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers, also known as the Ironworkers, donated $2,500 to Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart's campaign.

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) contributed $1,000 to Rep. Hal Rogers' campaign, the lone member of Kentucky's congressional delegation who expressed displeasure with the Electoral College results.

The Seafarers International Union of North America gave $1,000 to Florida Representative Brian Mast's campaign.

While these contributions are not made directly to individual candidate campaigns, the money still ends up going to the reelection efforts of lawmakers who objected to Biden's victory, especially in the House, where more than half of the GOP caucus voted to challenge the results.

The IAFF, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, and the National Association of Letter Carriers each contributed $15,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) for House GOP candidates. The National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association also contributed $15,000 to the NRCC and another $15,000 to the committee’s building fund.

During the month of May, at least six major unions' political action committees contributed to the campaigns of a few of the 139 House Republicans who wanted the election results overturned.

ALPA contributed $15,000 to the NRCC and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), as well as $45,000 to each committee's building fund, while the Ironworkers contributed $15,000 to the NRCC and the NRSC. The NRSC is chaired by Florida Sen. Rick Scott, one of the eight senators who voted against Biden's victory.

While most of the contributions are small, even $1,000 can provide donors with access to lawmakers that they might not have had otherwise.

Stardia contacted the unions listed above to see if they had considered withholding contributions from lawmakers who refused to certify Biden's victory, as some corporations have done. The majority declined to comment for this story.

The UMWA, according to UMWA spokesperson Phil Smith, contributed to Rogers' campaign because of the congressman's work in ensuring that retired miners' pensions and health care were protected in the 2019 year-end spending bill.

“He probably represents 6,000 or 7,000 of our pensioners whose pensions were secured as a result of his work in Congress,” Smith explained.

Several of the above-mentioned unions have been more likely than others to give money to Republicans each election cycle, so it's not surprising that they'd end up giving money to election objectors.

Through its PAC, ALPA, for example, has increasingly divided its money to both parties over the last decade, giving $907,000 to Democrats and $597,000 to Republicans in 2020, according to Open Secrets, while the UMWA, which used to contribute almost exclusively to Democrats, gave $386,000 to Democrats and $109,000 to Republicans last year.

Meanwhile, large public-sector unions' political action committees, such as the American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, contribute almost nothing to Republican candidates.

Following the insurgency, dozens of corporations announced that they would suspend their contributions to Republican lawmakers who had objected to certifying the election results, stating that they would begin reviewing their PACs' giving. While some companies have continued to withhold their money, many have resumed their contributions.

Walmart, for example, stated that it would suspend its donations to objectors, but then gave $15,000 each to the NRCC and the NRSC, as well as another $15,000 each to their building funds; General Electric made the same pledge, but then gave $15,000 each to the NRCC and the NRSC.

According to a report released last month by the Washington-based watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, 111 of the 147 Republicans who objected to the results had received corporate funding since January 6.

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