The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one the most influential labor unions, spent nearly $20 million more on politics than it did on representing its members, The Washington Free Beacon reported, citing a federal labor filing.
Just over $55 million was spent by AFSCME on "political activities and lobbying" in 2016, compared to $36.4 million for "representational activities," including contract negotiations.
The union has 1.3 million public sector employees. Most of its political spending went to help Democratic candidates, according to the Free Beacon.
The website noted the union's political spending is at the heart of a case likely headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. A lawsuit brought against the union is attempting to overturn an earlier decision allowing state and local governmental agencies to require public workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
AFSCME officials are looking to gain support from liberal activists in defending its right to collect the dues from workers.
"We need the entire labor and progressive movements to stand with us and fight for us," wrote Naomi Walker, assistant to AFSCME president Lee Saunders wrote in an article for In These Times.
"We may not survive without it — and nor, we fear, will they."
Patrick Semmens, a spokesman for the National Right to Work Foundation, which has given legal assistance in the lawsuit said: "Union-funded politicians will fight tooth and nail to protect union forced dues powers, knowing that they will directly benefit when it comes to support for their next campaign."
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