Massachusetts election laws are governed by a rather complicated set of laws. One of those is that organizations are limited to how much they can give a candidate, but they aren’t constrained on how much they can spend on a race on their own, without the blessing of a candidate. Last year these “independent expenditures” were made by a handful of private citizens, and one advocacy group. The Massachusetts Teachers Association pumped over a third of a million dollars into Bay State campaigns last year, all out of teachers’ union dues.
It wasn’t just spread around evenly, either. In one state Senate race, the union spent $47,000 in support of one Democrat — roughly 2/3 of the Republican challenger’s total expenditures. With numbers like those, it’s no wonder the Democrat won — and I’m quite certain that Senator Edward Augustus, Jr. is reminded of that fact on a regular basis.
I don’t think there should be further laws restricting campaign financing per se, but I see a major need for a revamping of how unions are allowed to spend their members’ money. And I think that other organizations need to look at this tactic — it’s wrong for only one group to have access to this.