Freedom Foundation

Union Cash Misspent

Oregon’s government employee unions quietly played a major role in the failed recall effort directed at State Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River).  The campaign failed to gather the required 9,025 signatures to put a recall measure on the ballot, despite having raised more than $130,000 for the effort.

Nearly all of it was spent.

The lion’s share of the cash and in-kind contributions to the campaign — more than $110,000 —  came from Our Oregon, the political arm of Oregon’s government employee unions, with the American Federation of Teachers kicking in smaller, but still significant, amount.

This recall campaign highlights what many believe is a great deal of fiscal irresponsibility within left-leaning, government-employee-cash campaign circles, especially Our Oregon. Government employee unions are feeling the sting from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME that affirmed government employee union members’ right to leave their union and not pay dues.

There are slightly fewer than 120,000 registered voters in Senate District 26. Having raised more than $130,000, it seems that at a dollar each, a mail piece containing a signature sheet could have been sent to each registered voter in the district, making the recall a success.

Looking at it another way, since they needed only 9,025 signatures, recall supporters could have spent more than $14 per signature to get the measure to the ballot.

The spending includes over $98,000 for petition circulators — people who go around asking people to sign the petition —  who certainly were affected by Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 shutdown order —  which is somewhat ironic, considering that this recall was in the interest of the governor and her party.

This recall provides an opportunity for dues-paying government employees — especially those impacted by the current economic crunch — to re-examine the return they’re getting on the investment of all those dues dollars.