By Michael Gaffney


According to a press release from MassFiscal, they have filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to end the “union loophole”:

“For those of you who don’t know, the union loophole prohibits businesses from giving money to political candidates, committees, and parties. At the same time, it allows unions—including unions from outside the state—to give up to $15,000 to a single candidate. Unions can also create political action committees to give even more. That makes Massachusetts one of six states that ban businesses—but not unions—from giving to parties, committees, and candidates. . .

The ‘union loophole’ is a longstanding social injustice that MassFiscal, and its sister organization the Fiscal Alliance Foundation, are determined to right. MassFiscal began our quest after the 2013 Boston Mayoral election when Marty Walsh defeated John Connolly in a close election. The Fiscal Alliance Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-partisan, non-profit organization was created in 2017 to educate the public about precisely this kind of social injustice, while MassFiscal advocates for fair and equitable solutions.”

They indicate that they undertook this action after numerous state elections have been unfairly affected by the loophole:

“The union loophole has had a devastating impact in state elections. Last year, Jacob Ventura narrowly lost a special election for state senate against a union boss backed candidate. Ventura’s opponents raised over $70,000 in just union loophole donations. This past November, state Rep. Keiko Orrall faced off against Deb Goldberg for Treasurer. Goldberg received union loophole donations while Orrall did not. You may remember Orrall, she won a special election in 2011 for her legislative seat, defeating a union backed candidate who raised 44% of his campaign funds —$20,000 — in union loophole donations. Orrall was able to overcome the union loophole in 2011 but not in 2018.

Even in elections that are not close, the union loophole plays a role. Attorney General Maura Healey faced off against a token opponent and yet, the union loophole benefited her candidacy with $24,000 in union loophole money. The union loophole is not a partisan issue, though. In the democratic primary for Secretary of State, Bill Galvin received five union loophole donations over his democratic opponent, Josh Zakim.”

They may have a chance of getting the case heard. According to them:

“There was some promising language in SJC Justice Kafker’s concurring opinion, as it spelled out a bit of a roadmap to attack the law based on differential treatment of corporations and unions and equal protection. There’s a better chance the SCOTUS would take this case with its current composition. There was a similar case that came out of Iowa in 2014 that the Supreme Court refused to hear (Iowa Right to Life v. Tooker). However, considering this Court’s apparent aversion to unions, especially in the Janus decision in 2017, we think there is a much better shot at the Court granting certiorari. Everyone involved is very optimistic that SCOTUS will give the case a more even-handed review.”

A win would level the playing field in Massachusetts. For far too long unions have had control of government via this loophole that allows them to donate to campaigns while businesses are prohibited from doing so. The result is a bloated government that overspends on union labor by over taxing (and finding ever new ways to tax) the residents and business of Massachusetts.

Our politicians should be accountable to us and represent us, not special interests.

Closing the loophole would return our government to the people.