PA Government Union Money: 2012 Election Edition

After Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania launched our government union money website, we had a number of requests from people who wanted to know how much candidates for the legislature had received. We put together spreadsheets that contain all of the candidates and members of the legislature:

House 2012 Government Union Money
Senate 2012 Government Union Money

The data is arranged alphabetically, and we include all third party candidates.

Only the odd numbered Senate districts are included; the even numbered districts aren’t up for election this year (don’t worry, we’ll update those totals on our website post-election).

The contribution amounts come from seven government union-affiliated Political Action Committees (PACs):

  • PSEA: Pennsylvania State Education Association (largest teachers union in the Commonwealth)
  • AFSCME: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
  • SEIU: Service Employees International (represents county and state employed social workers, etc.)
  • Good Jobs PA: Bundles union contributions (interestingly, it’s run by Republican State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo of Bucks County)
  • UFCW: United Food and Commercial Workers (State Liquor Store workers)
  • PLAN: Political Labor Action Now (bundles union PAC contributions)
  • APSCUF: Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties

We also included the PAC of Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) because he receives the vast majority of his funds from unions.

In addition to direct contributions, we included “In Kind” contributions from the unions in a candidate’s total. An In Kind contribution is one in which a PAC (or individual) pays for a product or service and gives it to a campaign. Common examples are paying for catering for a fundraiser and covering the cost of postage for a mail piece.

Although not affiliated with specific candidates, the four caucuses’ PACs (House Republican Campaign Committee, Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, etc.) are also included in the spreadsheet. The funds that are donated to these PACs are used toward electing members of their respective caucuses. Therefore, we felt it was important to include these donations to paint a full picture. Finally, there are two representatives also running for state wide office. Because funds can be moved freely between their House PAC and a their statewide PAC , the funds were counted toward their total regardless of where the money originally went.

Contribution totals were calculated using data from January 1 through the September 17 reporting period on the Pennsylvania Department of State website.

Here are a few figures to keep in mind:

  • $1.4 million in contributions from the eight PACs
  • $1.1 million went to candidates or PACs affiliated with the Democratic Party
  • $300,000 went to Republicans
  • No third party candidates received funds from the PACs
  • House Democrat PACs: $796,540 (average $5,310)
  • House Republican PACs: $245,370 (average $1,593)
  • Senate Democrat PACs: $327,435 (average $16,372)
  • Senate Republican PACs: $62,500 (average $2,841)

For a sense of scale, consider that the contributions from energy sector and utility PACs (who are “flooding” the state with campaign money) contributed a paltry $80,750 in total to candidates this year.

Now ask yourself, who is really “buying” special treatment from Harrisburg?

We hope that you find this information helpful and would encourage you to share it with your friends and neighbors. It may help them make a better decision on November 6th.

Leo Knepper is the Executive Director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania. This is an adaption of an newsblog post originally appearing on the organization’s website.