Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez kicked off 2020 by kneecapping her colleagues. The bartender-turned-congresswoman announced in early January that she would not be paying her share of party dues (dues which amount to roughly $250,000) to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The Democrats’ main campaign arm, the DCCC recruits and raises funds for candidates as well as incumbents. Each House Democrat is customarily expected to contribute to the committee at a level commensurate with his or her tenure and leadership role.
Whacky Ocasio-Cortez, whose online operation has effortlessly put her in the top tier of Democratic fundraisers — she outraised both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and impeachment manager Adam Schiff in the last half of 2019 — doesn’t agree with Democratic leadership and doesn’t want to fund their political ambitions. The Democratic Party’s priorities, she argues, don’t necessarily align with her liberal agenda. She should be able to decide how to spend her money strategically.
“Seems fair, no?”
Yes, it does. But the fact that she would deny such independence of action to workers in all other professions only serves to highlight her hypocrisy. As one of the loudest advocates in Congress for labor union bosses, Ocasio-Cortez has unwittingly showcased a compelling and common argument in favor of right-to-work laws, according to authors Aaron Withe and Jason Dudash of the National Freedom Foundation.
For years, public employees throughout the United States have seen a growing percentage of their paychecks gobbled up in the form of compulsory union dues. Hardworking people in the Bronx, throughout Middle America, and all the way to the West Coast had little choice but to watch in dumb anguish as their hard-earned dollars were confiscated by a government union, whose values they often did not share. The money, in turn, would be passed on to fund political candidates and causes they often did not support.
Thankfully, the U.S Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME drew a line in the sand. It recognized that all public employees have the same constitutional right Ocasio-Cortez insists upon for herself — the right to decide independently how to use her resources to influence the world around her.
Thanks to outreach efforts from the Freedom Foundation, more than 65,000 public employees on the West Coast have exercised this right, quitting their government unions in the 18 months following the landmark Janus decision.
In deep blue Oregon, breeding ground of antifa rioters and Ocasio-Cortez’s fellow Democratic Socialists of America comrades, more than 33% of state employees represented by the Service Employees International Union — SEIU is one of the state’s largest unions and the freshman congresswoman’s No. 1 donor — have freed themselves from union bondage, taking back their voices and their paychecks as they go.
Every public employee in the U.S., whether they are a congresswoman, teacher, or street sweeper, is entitled to exercise the same choice that Ocasio-Cortez is making and for the same reasons. However, her benefactors in organized labor vehemently disagree, and in her eagerness to continue cashing their generous checks, who is Ocasio-Cortez to argue?
Ocasio-Cortez has some conception that it’s wrong to force her to fund political activities she disagrees with. If only she could be persuaded to support extending those freedoms to all the other public sector employees.
• • •
Aaron Withe is the national director of the Freedom Foundation, and Jason Dudash is its Oregon state director.