Donor profile: Plumbers and Pipefitters Union

Quick stats on the biggest financial backers of Election 2012

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Ranking: 23        

Total contributions to super PACs: $4.2 million*

  • $2.4 million to Priorities USA Action (pro-Barack Obama)
  • $725,000 to Majority PAC (pro-Democratic)
  • $500,000 to Workers’ Voice (pro-Democratic), formerly known as AFL-CIO Workers’ Voices PAC
  • $436,000 to House Majority PAC (pro-Democratic)
  • $75,000 to The American Worker (pro-Democratic)
  • $26,000 to Stronger Together (pro-Democratic)
  • $10,000 to Connecticut's Future PAC (pro-Chris Murphy)

Notable federal hard money and 527 contributions:

  • $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • $20,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • More than $2.2 million to federal Democratic candidates during the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

Notable state-level contributions:

  • $100,000 to Jay Nixon, Democratic candidate for governor of Missouri
  • $55,000 to John Gregg, Democratic candidate for governor of Indiana
  • $50,000 to the Maryland Democratic Party
  • $50,000 to the Ohio Democratic Party
  • $50,000 to the Democratic Governors Association

Total spent on federal lobbying (2007-2012): $3.1 million

Biography:

The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry is without doubt the most ponderously named super donor. The national labor organization represents 340,000 workers who build, install, weld and maintain various types of pipe systems.

The UA takes stands on issues specific to the pipe industry, including support for investments in “water infrastructure” and to “preserve our nation’s water quality and health.”

It is also an avowed supporter of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, which the union argues will provide “reliable, long-term access to Canadian oil and gas” and “create more than 13,000 good-paying jobs with benefits during construction.”

The support has placed the union on the opposite side of environmentalists, another key Democratic constituency.

The union has been a strong supporter of Democratic candidates in federal and state races, and devoted its resources on efforts to re-elect President Barack Obama. It gave the maximum contribution of $5,000 directly to numerous Democratic candidates for Congress, and it doled out larger sums in state governors races, including a $50,000 check to the primary spender in Democratic gubernatorial races, the Washington, D.C.-based Democratic Governors Association.

UA President William Hite criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. In a sharply worded August press release, Hite warned that Ryan “would happily shred the social fabric of our nation without a second thought,” and called the congressman the “architect” of plans to “abolish Medicare” and “gut health care for families in need.”

Hite called on Ryan to “explain to the American people why he wants to wage war on the middle class and the disadvantaged among us.”

When the Democratic National Convention convened in North Carolina, a state known for its aversion to unions, Hite dismissed the notion that organized labor was "not fully behind this convention or this party" and vowed his union’s continued support for Democratic leaders, which have failed to deliver on some of labor’s biggest agenda items since Obama first took office.

Last updated: Jan. 30, 2013

*2011-2012 election cycle. Source: Center for Responsive Politics and Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records. Totals include contributions from individuals, family members and corporations that are controlled by the individual super donor.