Republican Matt Doheny is accusing his Nov. 6 opponent, Democratic Rep. Bill Owens, of being beholden to “union bosses,” in part because he took donations from their political action committees.
Indeed, political action committees for unions were the biggest donor type to Mr. Owens' campaign of any other subset of PACs or individuals.
“In turn, my opponent is repaying that generosity by voting to protect the interests of labor leadership,” Mr. Doheny said in a news release Tuesday.
But taking lots of donations from unions puts Mr. Owens in good company — and Republican company, too. Rep. John McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor, took in more than $130,000 from unions in the 2007-2008 cycle, according to a tabulation from Federal Election Commission data.
Mr. Doheny hasn't received any money from labor groups, but his campaign suggested that he'd be open to it.
“We welcome any person or group that shares Matt's vision for our district and our country to donate to Matt's campaign. However, Matt would never be prompted to do the bidding of that individual or organization simply because they donated,” spokesman Jude Seymour said in an email.
Mr. Owens' campaign manager said in an email: “Congressman Owens is proud to have the support of many small business owners from across the North Country. Considering Matt Doheny is a Wall Street executive who has made millions from restructuring companies and laying off workers, it's not surprising that working families are standing with Bill Owens.”
Mr. Doheny no longer works for a Wall Street-based firm; he opened his own investment shop, North Country Capital, on Washington Street in Watertown in 2011.
And now for the issue itself that Mr. Doheny says proves Mr. Owens is beholden to unions: Voting against the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act. According to Govtrack.us, Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, also voted against it. He has also taken donations from labor groups.
The Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act would prevent the National Labor Relations Board “from ordering any employer to relocate, shut down, or transfer a business under any circumstance,” according to a news release from its sponsor.
The board had filed a suit against Boeing for opening a plant in South Carolina because, the NLRB said, Boeing was only opening the plant to retaliate against its union in Washington state.
The NLRB later dropped its suit, but as the New York Times story notes: “The political conflagration ignited by the case will not be extinguished so easily.”