A new union-backed super PAC wants to make America’s infrastructure great again and believes Democrat Hillary Clinton is the candidate to do it.
Hard Hats for America, which registered with the Federal Election Commission in August, wants to “reverse the years of neglect that have harmed our roads, bridges and other infrastructure,” according to its website.
The super PAC says it plans to “organize and speak out throughout this election to advocate the election of Hillary Clinton and other supporters of long-overdue infrastructure improvements throughout the United States.”
Hard Hats for America hopes to turn infrastructure into an election issue.
Who’s behind it?
Hard Hats for America’s official registration paperwork lists two men as connected to the group.
The first is labor official Brent Booker, the secretary-treasurer of North America's Building Trades Unions. The second is a veteran Democratic strategist Craig Varoga.
For his part, Varoga also leads the pro-Democratic group Patriot Majority USA, which, during in the 2014 battle for control of the U.S. Senate, was a major “dark money” player — so-called because it does not disclose its donors.
(Varoga once told Politico that if Democrats “whine and complain” about the court cases that led to the proliferation of dark money in politics, then they’d “lose races that otherwise we should win” because they’d “be completely disadvantaged.”)
This year, Varoga and Patriot Majority USA have also been involved with a voter registration project in Indiana that was recently raided by state police amid fraud concerns. Varoga has denied any wrongdoing and accused the police and Indiana’s Republican secretary of state of “harassing” a nonpartisan voter registration drive.
As a super PAC, Hard Hats for America does disclose its donors, and its funders, so far, are strictly labor unions.
All super PACs are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals, corporations and labor unions — so long as these political action committees don’t coordinate their spending with candidates.
Hard Hats for America raised $580,000 through the end of September, according to a recently filed campaign finance report.
Four labor unions provided all of that money.
The International Union of Operating Engineers and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry each contributed $250,000.
Meanwhile, the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers donated $75,000. And North America's Building Trades Unions gave $5,000.