The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

July 5, 2014

State organized labor creates new fundraising arm

CHARLESTON — West Virginia organized labor has created a new independent fundraising arm ahead of the November general election.

According to a filing with the Federal Election Commission, the West Virginia AFL-CIO created the new federal political action committee “Honest West Virginians” in late June.

AFL-CIO treasurer Josh Sword told the Charleston Daily Mail that the group felt it needed to fight the flow of outside money affecting federal elections in West Virginia.

“This is not something that we necessarily wanted to do, we felt like we had to do this,” said Sword, who is also treasurer for the PAC. “And the reason is organized labor is tired of all of this out-of-state, big corporation, big CEO money coming in to West Virginia influencing elections.”

As an independent super PAC, the group is allowed to raise an unlimited amount of money. While technically independent, these organizations frequently attack or support candidates through advertising along ideological lines.

Traditionally the AFL-CIO and West Virginia labor organizations in general have supported Democrats more frequently than Republicans.

Sword said the amount of money “Honest West Virginians” raises will dictate how active the PAC is and the races it will focus on before the 2014 election. Messaging for the PAC is still undetermined as well, Sword said.

The AFL-CIO already has a state-level political arm, called the Committee on Political Education or AFL-CIO COPE. Sword said he’s focusing on the federal PAC now and will no longer work with the state-level organization.

The general election is Nov. 4.

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