Labor political action committees have contributed more than $23 million to this year's congressional campaigns with seven individual union PACs topping the $1 million donation mark, a survey of election records showed Tuesday.
Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., and Rep. Jill Long, D-Ind., top the lists of recipients in the Senate and House.Federal Election Commission records from Jan. 1, 1989, through September show that PACs run by labor groups have given $23,107,396 to candidates still running for election to Congress this year. That represents an increase of $3 million in the past two months with the biggest giving month - October - still to be recorded.
The labor figure is the second highest amount of money given by any interest group. Business-related PACs gave slightly over $68 million - almost three times as much as labor groups.
Union PACs generally are reporting getting more money from more members, although there are some signs of general voter discontent.
"We do get slightly more mail from some of our members who are frustrated, but they're probably small minorities," said Al Jackson, special assistant for political education at the National Association of Letter Carriers. "Most respond with a check rather than irate letter."
Democrats are the major recipients of labor money. The top 15 recipients in both the Senate and the House are Democrats.
Simon, in a tough re-election race against Republican Rep. Lynn Martin, received the top amount of any Senate candidate, $345,947.
He was followed by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., with $337,765.
Seven labor PACs have contributed more than a million dollars each, with the Teamsters Union leading the way with $1,656,142.