Construction Groups and Union Contribute Heavily to Political Candidates

Tuesday's election brought many people to the polls and gave Democrats control of Congress. Prior to the election both Republican and Democratic candidates alike spent countless hours campaigning in hope of winning or keeping their respective seats in either the House or Senate. These campaigns can cost millions of dollars, and it's not without support from individuals, groups and associations and other organizations that allows these political candidates to ardently hit the campaign trails.

The construction organizations and labor unions, in fact, poured millions of dollars into candidates' campaigns--$38.8 million, according to the Federal Election Commission filings through September 11, reported the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). Of that Republicans received approximately 71 percent of total construction spending; Democrats received 84 percent of union contributions specifically.

And just how does the spending break down among the different groups? Some are heavily Republican; others heavily Democratic and others pretty much on the same level.

According to CRP, contributions from specialty contractors (which includes glaziers) totaled more than $4.8 million. Of that about $1.2 million went to Democrats (24 percent) and more than $3.6 million to Republicans (75 percent).

It was a similar scenario for homebuilders, with $6.8 million contributions, 23 percent of which went to Democratic candidates and 77 percent going to Republicans.
When it comes to the unions, however, the situations couldn't be farther apart. According to the CRP, building trade unions contributed $12.3 million this year, of which 84 percent was for Democratic candidates; only 15 percent went to Republicans.

"We support those who support us, regardless of party affiliation," said Michael Monroe, government affairs administration for the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades (IUPAT). He said that while historically the Democratic Party has been more supportive of their issues than the Republican Party, they work with both sides in trying to build relationships on issues that are important to them.

"There were 40 or 50 Republicans [in Congress] prior to the election who we had worked with in the past, and they were not all re-elected," said Monroe, who explained that about 25 percent of IUPAT's contributions to Republican members reflected both the majorities in congress and the union's willingness to work with both parties. Some of those members and candidates came back, some did not.

"We work to establish relationships, follow through and stay true to the end," he said.

And while he said that IUPAT was optimistic about the new Democratic majority, he added that they would still continue to work on both sides of the aisle in terms of building relationships with both parties.

In regards to the Ironworker's Union, the CRP reported contributions of more than $1.2 million, with 88 percent going toward Democratic candidates.


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