EXCLUSIVE: Powerful Union Suddenly Courting Republicans Spent Millions On Liberal Advocacy, New Report Reveals

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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A massive union that’s suddenly rubbing shoulders with Republicans — including former President Donald Trump — ahead of November’s election has spent millions on left-wing advocacy, a new report shows.

Of the more than $9 million the International Brotherhood of Teamsters spent on political advocacy between 2019 and 2022, 99% went to groups linked to the Democratic Party, liberal economic think tanks and anti-Trump media operations, according to a new report from the Center for Union Facts given exclusively to the Daily Caller News Foundation. Despite the union’s strong leftward lean, the Teamsters have donated to the Republican National Committee (RNC), petitioned to speak at the party’s convention in July and even met with Trump as part of a broader effort to ingratiate themselves with conservatives.

The Teamsters, boasting 1.3 million members, represent truck drivers, government employees, pilots, construction workers, warehouse employees and those working in the public sector, as well as workers in several other sectors. (RELATED: Government Unions Funneled Almost $300 Million In Taxpayer-Funded Dues Into Politics Last Cycle, Report Finds)

One of the biggest chunks of the Teamster’s advocacy spending, worth roughly $2.5 million, went toward “registered Democrats, Democrat Party-funded initiatives, Democratic campaigns and organizations that focus on advancing the interest of the Democratic Party,” according to the report. Recipients of union funds included The National Democratic Club, a social organization in D.C. where liberal elites meet to hobnob, failed Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ voting rights group, Fair Fight Action and the inaugural committee of Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.

The over $2.6 million in political donations made by the Teamsters’ PAC this election cycle have also skewed heavily to the left, with the vast majority of their funds going to Democrats and Democratic-aligned PACs like the Senate Majority PAC, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and the Democratic Governors Association, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The Teamsters, however, made waves when they donated $45,000 to the RNC in January, marking the union’s first contribution to the committee since 2004.

Teamsters President Shaun O’Brien defended the donation, arguing that it would get his union “a seat at the table,” Reuters reported.

O’Brien has since asked for speaking slots at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions, according to the New York Times. He has also met privately with Trump and Mar-a-Lago, with people close to the former president suggesting that there may be a budding relationship between the two.

“Conservatives should be extremely skeptical of outreach from organized labor,” Capital Research Center research director Michael Watson told the DCNF. “Big philanthropy and the progressive movement sees an opportunity to try to break the conservative consensus [that is] skeptical of organized labor, certainly hostile to compulsory unionization, to strengthen progressivism’s allies in organized labor.”

While other major umbrella unions like AFL-CIO and the United Automobile Workers have backed President Joe Biden for reelection, the Teamsters have so far declined to endorse either major candidate, planning instead to make a decision sometime during the summer, Reuters reported.

The Center for Union Facts report shows that the Teamsters, however, have made contributions to nonprofits that are ardently opposed to Trump like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

U.S. President Joe Biden waits to address union workers at Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 on September 4, 2023, in Philadelphia. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

The ACLU, for its part, has prepared strategies to resist Trump’s agenda on immigration and LGBT issues if he is elected president in November, building on its legacy of hostile litigation during Trump’s first term, according to its website. The NAACP, meanwhile, has called for the former president to be removed from the ballot following his conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records in New York, calling his nomination “a gross advancement of white supremacist policy.”

Anti-Trump media operations, like The Rick Smith Show and The American Prospect, have also raked in cash from the Teamsters, according to the report. Left-of-center economic think tanks, like the Roosevelt Institute and the Economic Policy Institute, were also beneficiaries of the Teamster’s advocacy spending.

To compile its report, The Center for Union Facts examined reports filed by all national and local Teamster chapters with the Department of Labor and documented the various political advocacy groups the union disclosed donating to.

The Teamsters did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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