Ohio Democrats Are a Party Of, By, and For Big Labor

Labor union influence over the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) would be difficult to overstate, as the latest campaign finance reports once again confirm.

Unions continue pouring money into ODP accounts and the campaigns of the Democrats’ statewide candidates. Most of the state’s largest unions had endorsed the entire Democrat ticket by the end of 2013.

However, funding and endorsements aren’t the only reasons rhetoric from ODP and its candidates strongly resembles union “solidarity” talking points.

Of ODP’s eight current directors, three — executive director Liz Walters, communications director Meredith Tucker, and data director Darren Kregger — came to ODP from union front group We Are Ohio. Earlier this year, half of ODP’s directors were former We Are Ohio staffers.

Ohio Democratic Party

During the pre-primary reporting period, 5 of ODP’s top 10 donors were labor unions. Ohio Education Association (OEA) topped the list of all contributors with a $150,000 gift.

Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE), an affiliate of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), tied for second with an individual donor from New York, contributing $50,000.

AFSCME affiliates Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA) and AFSCME Council 8 each donated $25,000 to ODP, tied for fifth on the list with an individual donor from California and another from Cleveland.

ODP’s top contribution during the post-primary reporting period was a tie between AFSCME headquarters in DC and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199, which each donated $100,000.

With $25,000 contributions to ODP, OAPSE and Ohio AFL-CIO tied for fourth with an individual donor from Cincinnati.

ODP State Candidate Fund

Excluding contributions from ODP statewide candidates’ own accounts, the top donors to the ODP State Candidate Fund are routinely state and national labor unions.

During the pre-primary reporting period, SEIU District 1199 gave a combined $72,933 from its legally-distinct political action committee and political contributing entity accounts.

Communications Workers of America (CWA) headquarters in DC gave $36,467, while AFSCME and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) each sent $36,466 from their DC offices.

United Steelworkers of America (USW) District 1 contributed $35,000, and Ohio AFL-CIO gave $20,000.

During the post-primary reporting period, the top contributors to the ODP State Candidate Fund were OEA and the DC headquarters of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Both donated $36,467.

Governor: Friends of FitzGerald-Neuhardt

Of the FitzGerald campaign’s top 10 non-individual contributions reported in yesterday’s monthly campaign finance filing, 9 came from labor unions. The tenth was from ODP.

AFSCME headquarters in DC came within a rounding error of the maximum contribution, sending $12,155 to the Democrat’s campaign.

Although FitzGerald had already received over $300,000 from labor unions by the end of 2013, unions gave a total of $79,266 to FitzGerald’s campaign during the latest reporting period.

Treasurer: Friends of Connie Pillich

Sort the non-individual contributions in Pillich’s latest campaign finance report from largest to smallest, and you won’t find a donor that isn’t ODP or a labor union in the first 24 rows.

Of the $507,862 in contributions Pillich reported yesterday, $147,565 came directly from labor unions.

Pillich received $12,155 from AFSCME headquarters in DC.

Attorney General: Citizens for Pepper Committee

In David Pepper’s latest campaign finance report, 9 of the top 10 and 14 of the top 16 non-individual contributions came from labor unions. The top non-individual contributor was ODP.

Of the $356,427 in contributions Pepper reported yesterday, $86,054 came directly from labor unions.

Pepper received $12,155 from AFSCME headquarters in DC.

 Secretary of State: Friends of Nina Turner

Nina Turner’s top 5 donors during the latest reporting period were all labor unions.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) headquarters in DC and USW District 1 each donated $12,156. AFSCME headquarters in DC donated $12,155.

Ohio State Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters gave Turner $12,000, as did United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters headquarters in Maryland.

Turner reported contributions totaling $251,653 in yesterday’s campaign finance report. Of that total, $87,160 came directly from labor unions.

Auditor: Citizens to Elect John Patrick Carney

Of the $206,123 in contributions Carney’s campaign reported for the latest campaign finance period, $108,999 came directly from labor unions.

Carney’s top 5 donors — and 7 of his top 8 — were labor unions. AFSCME sent $12,155 from its DC headquarters, and United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters sent $12,000 from its Maryland headquarters.