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Nov
2016
11

Anti-Union Group Caught Sending Undisclosed Election Materials to Voters in WV

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An anti-union group in West Virginia was caught mailing pro-Republican materials to voters without reporting the activity to the Secretary of State’s office. Election law requires the disclosure of independent political expenditures and prohibits electioneering communications between political groups:

Letters obtained by the Gazette-Mail show that a group operating under the name West Virginia Right to Work Committee has mailed out letters that praise state senators Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, and Chris Walters, R-Putnam, for supporting the state’s recently passed right-to-work law and criticize their Democratic opponents for not returning a survey about the issue. 

“With control of state government up for grabs this fall, you can be sure Big Labor is going all-out to put the Mountain State back under its forced-unionism stranglehold,” the letters read.

Similar illegal activity by an anti-union group in Montana was uncovered earlier this year:

Emails, documents and affidavits recently obtained by Montana’s commissioner of political practices paint a detailed picture of how the national anti-union group oversaw the activities of American Tradition Partnership, the group at the center of allegations of illegal third-party influence in Montana Republican primary campaigns in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

The National Right to Work Committee is a 501©4 “social welfare” group that, according to the IRS, is not supposed to engage in “direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”

Complicating matters in West Virginia is the fact that the West Virginia Right-to-Work Committee does not appear to be a legitimate organization, according to the West Virginia Gazette-Mail:

The West Virginia Right to Work Committee doesn’t actually exist. The group has a web page and goes by that name in West Virginia, but it is officially registered as the Mid-America Right to Work Committee, which is headquartered in Iowa and operates as a branch of the Virginia-based National Right to Work Committee. 

The nonprofit’s federal financial reports show that the group operates under similar aliases in Kentucky, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, but it has not reported any type of political spending in past years.

For their part, West Virginia state senators Boso and Walters both say they knew nothing about the mailers and have never heard of the organization. With Jim Justice’s victory in the governor’s race over Bill Cole, the state’s recently enacted “Right-to-Work” law could be in serious jeopardy.

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