The Inquirer has an interesting story on the political influence of IBEW 98, the local electricians’ union:
Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has poured $25.6 million into political races since 2000, an Inquirer analysis of campaign records found — more than statewide powerhouses such as the trial lawyers, teachers’ unions, or Marcellus Shale gas drillers.
The donations, financed by members’ paycheck deductions, have helped turn the local and its business manager, John J. Dougherty Jr., into a potent and even feared political force.
The union’s political action committee has contributed more than $5.5 million to current officeholders in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the federal government – from the courthouse to the White House.
Though other unions outnumber the local’s 3,800 members, none approach its $25.6 million in campaign spending since 2000, after the state’s records were computerized. As a close observer of Pennsylvania politics, G. Terry Madonna, said, it has become “a major force to be reckoned with.”
On one level, this story tells us what we already knew — “politically powerful” is the standard modifier for journos writing about Dougherty — but on the other hand: It’s nice to have real numbers to document the phenomenon.