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.