Apologies for the late response to this post, but I'm also a public union
member (MAPE 0301) as a state employee and I disagree with Tony that
limiting PAC contributions would drown out union voices or that it's somehow
wrong to suggest that elected officials should recuse themselves from votes
involving organizations they've allowed themselves to become beholden to.
Admittedly, I used to be of a similar mindset to Tony in that I thought it
was good enough to say a candidate can take money from a "good" PAC but not
a "bad" PAC. David Shove did a good job a few days ago of explaining why
that's not good enough.
There are plenty of ways for unions to represent themselves either to
advocate for "legitimate union aims" or to fight those who seek to undermine
unions without throwing PAC money at municipal elected officials.
And while I am a union member, at the same time, I'm also a Minneapolis
resident and voter and it's pretty easy for me to see that those can come
into conflict from time to time. When that happens, I want the elected
official who's supposed to be representing me to actually represent my
interests and the interests of my fellow Minneapolis residents (or at least
listen to them) and not the narrow special-interests of some PAC or other,
whether it be a union PAC or Faegre & Benson's Govt Fund or whatever.
One need only look at the Police Federation for an example. If I have to
choose between the candidate who tries to get ahead by promising the city
employee living in Maple Grove a bigger raise vs. the candidate whose
priority is the taxpayers of Minneapolis, who should I choose? If I have to
choose between the candidate who is beholden to the Minneapolis Police
Relief Association and the candidate who recognizes that they've been
getting away with their "13th check" shenanigans for long enough, who should
And as for the comment that "unions tend to support those who support us" -
I would encourage folks to take another look at Sonja Dahl's post earlier
today. Sometimes, I'm not so sure the union PAC leaders actually realize who
they're getting into bed with.
> Many on the Issues lists forget who are some of the larger PACS. The unions
> through their COPE committees are one of the largest contributors to campaigns
> including many of the City Council races. Efforts to ban or restrict or force
> voluntary recusals will restrict the way many of us union members effectively
> contribute to politics.
> The Unions contribute directly to the campaign and also campaign separately
> for the candidates just as the two Park Interest Groups. Unions have always
> been a mainstay of liberalism from workers rights to civil rights. Many of
> the Unions are public employee unions such as mine (Teachers Unions). In
> effect our voices would be drowned out in the so called reform. Elected
> officials would be forced or pressured not to support legitimate union aims.
> And Yes we tend to support those who support us.
> I know of no way to separate out Union PACS from other PACS.
> Tony Scallon
> Howe Neighborhood.