FEC Concludes Corporations And Unions May Force Workers To Campaign For Political Candidates Of Their Choice

Once upon a time, two United Public workers in Hawaii refused to campaign for the candidate of their Union’s choice in their off-hours. They were subsequently fired and brought suit against the UPW. UPW argued that under Citizens United they were allowed to compel its employees to participate because Citizens clearly states that a corporation and/or a labor union may engage in political action and that nothing prohibits it from requiring participation by union employees.

The OGC, (Offices of General Council,) determined that UPW had in fact coerced its employees to campaign for the candidate of UPW’s choice in their off hours and UPW agreed to pay a $5,500 penalty for the attempted coercion of it’s employees, and for violating the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. Once OGC made it’s determination the case went before the FEC, which has exclusive jurisdiction over the civil enforcement of federal campaign law for approval.

The FEC found that UPW did in fact violate the Federal Election Campaign Act by not filing independent expenditures reports but requiring employees to work on independent expenditures for either the union or a non-connected political committee was not a violation of the Act. UPW’s independent use of its paid workforce to campaign for a federal candidate was not contemplated by Congress post-Citizens United and consequently it is not prohibited by either the Act or Commission regulations.

The decision (Statement of Reasons) was signed by three Republicans, all Bush appointees; the Chair of the FEC, Caroline Hunter, Commissioner Donald F. McGahn, and Commissioner Matthew S. Pettersen.

Citizens United, like DDT the gift that keeps on giving. Welcome to dystopia.

Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools. Katherine Manaan MAWT

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