FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Friday, October 24, 2014

Union Groups Crossover To Help Fund New $50K Radio Ad Supporting Martha McSally (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

(UPDATE, 9:40am: Minutes ago, Defending Main Street also filed a report indicating that it it spent $14,000 today for a mailer supporting GOP nominee Andy Tobin in his toss-up race against Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1).  The mailer is slated for distribution on Monday.  As noted in the article, DMS supported Tobin in the GOP primary contest, as well.)

Two AFL-CIO-affiliated union groups are primary funders of a new radio ad supporting GOP nominee Martha McSally in her hotly-contested battle to unseat Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2).

DMS disclosed today that it is spending $50,000 on a radio ad supporting McSally, and that it will begin airing on Sunday.

The International Union of Operating Engineers and a group called Working for Working Americans each contributed (in September) $250,000 to the centrist-conservative "Defending Main Street SuperPAC, Inc." ("DMS").  Neither the Operating Engineers union nor WFWA has been known for donating to Republican groups.

WFWA receives its funds from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.  Its only other contributions in the last two months are $1,000,000 to the Democrat-philic Senate Majority PAC and $500,000 to the similarly-aligned House Majority PAC.  The IUOE also gives 4/5 of its political contributions to Democrats.

This has led to speculation that labor unions are trying to fuel an intra-Republican "civil war."  However, the general election donations to DMS to support GOP candidates seem to indicate that there is more to the unions' support. In fact, the IUOE's political director, Jeffrey Soth, told Mother Jones' reporter Andy Kroll just that: "Especially with this crazy political atmosphere, this is a place where we need to be lending support to middle-of-the-road Democrats and Republicans both, and this is part of that effort."

DMS - and, its affiliated group, Main Street Advocacy - are headed up by former Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette, who has had harsh words for the more-conservative wing of his party.  He has consistently brought union money into his campaigns (while in Congress and now, afterwards), which has not escaped the notice of those he has criticized.

As Arizona's Politics noted in August when Main Street Advocacy (the dark money side of LaTourette's operation) ran radio ads supporting Andy Tobin in his primary battle against more conservative Adam Kwasman and Gary Kiehne, LaTourette has been outspoken in the intra-GOP battle between more centrist Republicans and more conservative Republicans. He has bemoaned the move to the right, saying the party will sacrifice a governing majority on the altar of ideological purity, and calling the ideologues the "grifting wing" of the party.

Conservatives - such as Michelle Malkin - have accused him of trying to "push through amnesty for illegal immigrants" and for being "money grubbing" while working with the liberal labor unions.

In addition to the half-million dollars from the union groups in September, DMS received $50,000 from House Speaker John Boehner's Congressional Leadership Fund.

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