Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Federal? Or state law?

Mark Naymick of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote a story today regarding the complaints about Strickland abusing AFSCME money to attack Kasich:

The governor signed controversial executive orders that allow self-employed private-sector child-care workers and home-health care workers -- whose customers receive state subsidies -- to join labor unions. (These workers already are paid through the state. Their wages are not set by unions, but by Medicaid reimbursement rates.)

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees' Ohio Council 8 has organized some 8,000 child-care workers. As a result, the state deducts their union dues and sends them directly to the union.


Federal law says union dues, or general revenue, cannot be given to politicians or political parties, or spent on candidate advertising.

A union's political action committee -- like AFSCME's -- is funded primarily not by dues, but through additional voluntary donations from members. Unions cut contracts that allow workers to make political contributions through their paychecks, but those donations remain separate from their dues.

That's all well and good, Mr. Naymick. But federal law has nothing to do with Ohio law when it comes to dues paying for political activism.

From page four of the Ohio Campaign Finance Handbook produced by the Ohio Secretary of State:

In other words, AFSCME can, in fact, use their dues to pay for political commercials, or however else they want to support or oppose a candidate.

If you look at the campaign finance report for the AFSCME PAC, the one that paid for the attack ads, they received massive contributions from AFSCME political contibuting entities. That is what the union itself registers as when it is using general treasury funds for campaign purposes.

Now, it's true that the federal law applies to the Senate and Congressional races, but not to what's being discussed in the Naymick article, the Ohio gubernatorial race.

But either way, the cited federal law is absolutely irrelevant and gives the reader the impression that the GOP is complaining about behavior that is already prohibited by law, which is not the case. In this case, federal law does not apply to state elections.

Facts are facts. Strickland is taking advantage of Ohio law and his own executive orders to use taxpayer dollars to pay for attack ads against his opponent.

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