Public-Employees Union No. 1 Election Spender

1.6-million member AFSCME spends $87.5M on campaign
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 22, 2010 8:44 AM CDT
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees President Gerald McEntee talks to attendees at the AFCSME convention in San Francisco on Monday, July 28, 2008.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(Newser) – The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees has become the biggest outside donor to the midterm elections, thanks to a last-minute push of funds to Democrats that brings its total election spending to $87.5 million, the Wall Street Journal reports. The organization, which boasts 1.6 million members, pulled from a $16 million emergency fund and took out a $2 million loan last week in its effort to help the Dems.

Some conservatives argue that public-sector unions have undue influence; critics hold they are essentially government-funded, since members’ paychecks come from the state. With “a lot of people attacking public-sector workers as the problem,” said the group's president, “we're spending big. And we're damn happy it's big. And our members are damn happy it's big—it's their money.”

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