Big Labor Dominates Donors to Ohio Democrats

Kasich and FitzGerald
John Kasich (left) and Ed FitzGerald

Campaign finance reports filed on January 31 serve as a reminder that Big Labor holds the purse strings of the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP).

Most of the state’s powerful union bosses endorsed ODP-backed gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald and ODP’s other state-level candidates months ago. FitzGerald’s campaign finance records confirm that Big Labor is, as usual, bankrolling the Democrat ticket.

Following is a list of the top donors reported in the FitzGerald campaign’s 2013 semiannual and annual filings with the secretary of state, rounded to the nearest dollar.

1) Ohio Democratic Party — $578,250
2) Former Dealer Tire executive Richard Cahoon & wife Doreen — $24,456
3) Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199 — $24,310
4) A tie between 13 unions each contributing $12,156:
Amalgamated Transit Union headquarters in Washington, DC
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) headquarters, DC
Ohio Education Association (OEA)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 8
IBEW Local 38
IBEW Local 540
IBEW Local 683
IBEW Local 8
IBEW Local 246
Ohio State Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters
United Auto Workers (UAW) Ohio State PAC
United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1059
UFCW Local 75
17) A tie between 2 unions each contributing $12,155:
AFSCME headquarters, DC
Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA), an AFSCME local
19) Ohio Iron Workers Association — $12,100
20) A tie between 5 unions each contributing $12,000:
International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 207
Ohio AFL-CIO
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 392
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 189
United Steelworkers of America (USW) District 1
25) Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters (OAPFF) — $11,156
26) Communications Workers of America (CWA) Ohio Legislative Action Committee — $11,155

The Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE), another AFSCME local, was among FitzGerald’s $10,000 donors, as were the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) and the Maryland headquarters of International Association of Machinists (IAM).

Because they typically endorse and spend as a collectivist hive-mind, union bosses don’t simply outpace other donors to Ohio Democrats; no organization, interest, or industry comes close. This truth is obscured by money funneled to specific candidates through Party accounts.

The largest contribution to ODP during its most recent reporting period was a $63,533 donation from UFCW headquarters in DC. Four of the five biggest donations ODP reported came from labor unions.

Of the 6 largest contributions in the 2013 annual filing for the Ohio Democratic Party State Candidates Fund, 4 came from labor unions — including $36,467 from UFCW headquarters and $36,466 from AFSCME headquarters.

Despite copious union giving, FitzGerald’s fundraising continues to trail far behind incumbent Governor John Kasich’s. Kasich Taylor for Ohio, which was already sitting on a pile of cash as of last July, reported contributions totaling more than $3.85 million for the second half of 2013.

Friends of FitzGerald-Neuhardt reported $1.62 million… even with the 2013 numbers padded by donations from last month, including $388,750 of the campaign’s receipts from ODP.

Based on last week’s filings, Gov. Kasich’s reelection campaign has over $7.9 million on hand compared to FitzGerald’s $1.4 million.