Statement of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance on the Decision of the United States Supreme Court in Janus v. AFCSME
We applaud the United States Supreme Court for its decision protecting our Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association in their decision Janus v. AFSCME. No one should be forced to pay for a political message with which they do not agree.
For nearly forty years, a series of bureaucratic decisions and court rulings have allowed union bosses to dominate the political discourse of our country and our state. Though national in its scope, today’s ruling has broad implications for the Commonwealth. According to a statement released today by the Pioneer Institute, “18 of the 20 political action committees that contributed the most to candidates for state and county offices were labor organizations, and 85 percent of all PAC contributions went to Democratic candidates.” The Janus decision will finally bring some equity to this situation by allowing people who disagree with the political positions of their unions to opt out of funding that speech, and by forcing union leadership to be more responsive to their members and less beholden to the Beacon Hill political elite.
At a local level, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has an opportunity to continue this trend of bringing fairness to the law in the legal challenge to the Union Loophole currently before them: 1A Auto v. Sullivan (SJC-12413).
Originally filed in 2015 by businesses owned by Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance founder Rick Green and board member Mike Kane, the lawsuit seeks to close the union loophole in Massachusetts campaign finance law. The loophole bans political contributions from employers while allowing unions, including out of state unions, to contribute up to $15,000 to a single state candidate. Individuals can only donate up to $1,000. Unions, under current law, may also contribute via Political Action Committees, while PACs supported by employers are prohibited. Massachusetts is one of only six states with campaign finance laws that advantage unions and the worst state in the country for the way it favors unions over employers.
The union loophole has tainted election after election here in Massachusetts, notably being extensively exploited in Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s 2013 election, and most recently in Paul Feeney’s 2017 run for state senate. Both were close races that were impacted by the hundreds of thousands of dollars funneled in from unions across the country.
“The Janus decision is just a small, but important, step towards restoring balance and fairness,” stated Paul D. Craney, spokesperson of Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “We hope the Massachusetts SJC will continue the trend of protecting our first amendment rights, and bringing equal protection to state campaign finance law as it considers the 1A Auto v. Sullivan case,” concluded Craney.
Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance advocates for fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability in state government and increased economic opportunity for the people of our Commonwealth.
Earlier this week, our organization celebrated a major milestone as our latest mailer began hitting mailboxes. For the first time in our history, Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance has mailed an educational piece to over 1,000,000 homes across the Commonwealth.
From Mount Washington in the Berkshires to Nantucket off the coast of Cape Cod, an ever-increasing number of Massachusetts residents will now be better informed on the activities of legislators on Beacon Hill.
The piece in question is a copy of our Legislative Scorecard (http://www.massfiscalscorecard.com/) and contains a comprehensive listing of all state legislators and their MassFiscal Scorecard ratings. In addition, this mailing highlights their votes on key issues for those prioritizing good government and fiscal responsibility. Those issues include their votes on approving Proposition 80, legislative pay raises, and giving legislators time to review bills before votes.
You can take a look at a copy of the Scorecard mailing here.
Sen. Eldridge Implies Campaign Finance Law Should be Used as a Political Weapon
The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance offered the following statement in response to state Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton).
“Senator Eldridge is implying that he’s proposing a campaign finance bill to help elect Democrats to the statehouse,” commented Paul D. Craney, a MassFiscal Board Member and the organization’s spokesman. “We previously knew his bill was poorly written, and misguided, without any legitimate support from campaign finance law experts, but now we learn its hyper partisan and intended to be used as a political weapon in state campaign finance law. Senator Eldridge would be wise to learn that just because he’s a state senator, it doesn’t entitle him to be a bully and propose campaign finance bills that settle scores with his political enemies. It's folks like Eldridge who demonstrate why our campaign finance regulations need to be crystal clear and completely objective. MassFiscal will always fight unfair regulations that tip the scales for or against a particular point of view,” concluded Craney.
There’s a bill that would rein in Charlie Baker’s fund-raising, but Democrats aren’t touching it
THE BOSTON GLOBE
By: Frank Phillips
The difference is stunning: Governor Charlie Baker was sitting on more than $8 million in his campaign account by mid-May, while his two Democratic challengers had less than $132,000 combined.
If Jay Gonzalez and Robert Massie are looking for someone to blame for that cash chasm, they don’t have to look far. Over the past two years, House Democratic leadership has repeatedly blocked campaign finance legislation that could have cut off a big source of funds to Baker and candidates on the GOP ticket.
“It’s very frustrating,’’ said Senator James B. Eldridge, Democrat from Acton and chief sponsor of the bill. “It seems like a lot of my colleagues [in the House] are not interested in electing a Democrat to the corner office.”…
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