Report sheds light on $700M unions pumped into politics to advance Democrat causes nationwide


The nation’s largest labor unions spent a staggering $708 million on politics to propel Democratic Party causes during the previous election cycle on activities that will likely continue throughout the 2024 elections.

A new report from the Commonwealth Foundation found the nation’s four biggest government unions — the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) — combined to drop the massive sum into lobbying and on contributions to political organizations and candidates in federal, state and local races during the 2022 midterm elections.

“Our research illuminates the considerable political influence wielded by government unions, both in Washington, D.C., and in states throughout the nation,” David Osborne, the Commonwealth Foundation’s senior fellow of labor policy, told Fox News Digital.

“Government unions use this power not only to advance leftist causes but also to elect political leaders who will protect their interests and influence. The result, unfortunately, is that federal, state and local governments are increasingly led by politicians who care more about union executives than union members or taxpayers.”


Kamala Harris and Becky Pringle

Vice President Kamala Harris, right, waves with Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, at the National Education Association 2022 annual meeting and representative assembly in Chicago July 5, 2022. (Tannen Maury/EPA/Bloomberg via .)

The Commonwealth Foundation provided Fox News Digital with a copy of its report highlighting how the AFT, NEA, AFSCME and SEIU combined to spread astronomical amounts of cash across multiple sectors to boost liberal causes.

According to the report, unions spent more on what the Commonwealth Foundation deemed political activity than on categories closely aligned with membership support. 

“Most of a union’s revenue comes from its membership, in the form of member dues. Given this fact, it may make sense for the unions to allocate most financial resources toward membership support,” the report states. 

“However, this is not the case. The four largest government unions spent over $2.79 billion in 2021 and 2022, yet representational activities, the spending category most closely linked to membership support, only accounted for $554 million, or less than 20 percent of total expenditures.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer speaks

The Schumer-aligned Senate Majority PAC received tens of millions from unions during the 2022 election cycle. (Kevin Dietsch/.)

Among its considerable political expenditures was a combined $157 million between the unions’ PACs at the federal level, including disbursements of $38 million to the Sen. Chuck Schumer-aligned Senate Majority PAC, $30 million to the NEA Advocacy Fund and $28 million to the SEIU Political Education and Action Fund/United We Can.

The union PACs also sent $8.34 million directly to candidates, with an overwhelming majority ($8.29 million) benefiting Democrats. Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia was the top recipient, and his campaign landed over $60,000 from the PACs.


Additionally, the Commonwealth Foundation discovered that around $145 million had made its way to the state and local levels throughout the 2022 election cycle. 

“Of this, $118.1 million went directly toward candidates for public office and partisan PACs, while $26.9 million went to nonpartisan candidates, staff costs, membership mailers and other miscellaneous costs,” the report states. “Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming majority of the partisan contributions went to Democratic candidates.”

The unions pushed most of their state cash into Illinois, California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Sen. Raphael Warnock

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock is also a favorite of unions, according to the report. (Paras Griffin/.)

Overall, over 99% of the federal union PAC money favored Democrats, while 95% of state PAC contributions benefited the party, according to the report.

The Commonwealth Foundation wrote that the “extensive spending on federal politics” could explain the “preferential treatment” unions receive from the Biden administration.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden’s Center for Disease Control directly adopted language suggestions from the AFT into the organization’s school reopening guidelines. The Biden administration also proposed nearly half of a billion dollars in funding for union-backed community schools,” the group wrote in the report.


The NEA, AFT, AFSCME and SEIU did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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