[En español]

Political Action Committees (PACs) contribute money to political candidates for their election campaigns. Some PACs contribute to candidates for state and local offices ” governors, mayors, state representatives, state senators, etc. Other PAC’s contribute to candidates for federal office ” President, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

It is unlawful for a labor union to take money from your paycheck for contributions to a federal PAC or for the federal PAC to accept such contributions without your written authorization. Recently, the Federal Election Commission has audited some well-known national union PACs to see if they had written authorizations from employees for the contributions the PACs were receiving. The results were astonishing. One national union PAC, according to the FEC audit, could not produce written authorizations for 93% of PAC contributions the FEC examined. Another national union PAC was unable to show authorizations for at least 67% of the contributions the FEC examined. This suggests a widespread problem: union PACs are making political contributions to federal candidates with employees’ money taken without their written authorizations.

If you believe that money is being deducted from your paycheck and funneled to a union’s federal PAC without your written authorization, contact the Foundation. If in the past you signed an authorization for deductions from your paycheck for a PAC and you wish to end that authorization, write to your employer and union telling them you want these PAC contributions to stop. You may download a sample letter (PDF reader required) to stop your payroll-deduction PAC contributions.

It also is unlawful under most circumstances for a labor union to take funds from dues money and transfer it to a federal PAC or to use such funds to give cash directly to a candidate for federal office. If you have evidence that your union is taking money from union dues and transferring the funds to a federal PAC or directly contributing funds to a candidate for federal office from its general treasury, you may contact the Foundation for legal assistance.

The Foundation has already taken steps to end abuses like those described above. If you contact us, a Foundation lawyer may be able to help you.

Although it is illegal for a labor union to take money without your authorization for a federal PAC or to contribute money from dues directly to a federal candidate, a labor union may use the dues money of members to engage in a host of other political activities ” such as non-partisan get-out-the-vote drives, political “education” campaigns directed only at members and their families, issue campaigns, lobbying, PAC administration costs, etc. The only way that you can stop the union from using your dues money for such activities is to take other actions outlined in the section of this web site concerning “Know Your Rights.”