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