Sully District Republican candidate Brian Schoeneman continues to rely on Union connections in funding his effort in a Republican nomination fight according to campaign finance data filed today.[read_more]
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. Luke 16:13.*
In the Sully district race we have a candidate asking to serve two masters: Brian Schoeneman is asking for your vote in the Sully District Firehouse Primary On April 25 because he wants to be the Republican nominee for Supervisor. Mr. Schoeneman has a day job lobbying for the Seafarers International Union. If selected as a Supervisor he will be serving two masters, and something will eventually have to give.
Mr. Schoeneman originally ran for the House of Delegates in 2011. What many of our readers may not know is that when a candidate prepares for a run they line up donors and use this seed money to gain credibility and build a broader donation base. This early money is extremely important. In 2011, for the first reporting period, Mr. Schoeneman brought in $26,391 in contributions between 4/1/2011 and 6/30/2011. This amount includes $4,458 in small dollar unitemized contributions that could have come from anyone anywhere, and $2,965 in in-kind contributions that could easily be overstated (ask me about Sarvis’ 2014 in-kind contributions some time if you want to hear about an extreme case). Of the remaining verifiable $18,968, $10,150 came from clearly identifiable unions, union officials or union lobbyists.
In other words his 2011 verifiable seed money came over 50% from unions.
On April 2, 2015 Mr. Schoeneman released what appeared to be good fundraising numbers. We have now been waiting for the April 15 filing deadline to see those details.
Things look roughly the same as in 2011.
Of a total $26,871.26 reported as raised, $5146.76 is in the form of in kind donations, almost all of which is in the form of free website development. $8198.50 is from unitemized individual donors under $100. Just as with 2011, I remove these two figures from the total and we have $13,526 in itemized contributions. Of this, $6,400 is from identifiable union money. This constitutes 47% union money. Other contributions of note include $1,250 from federal lobbyists with little or no ties to the district, $500 is from former Lieutenant Governor candidate Jeannemarie Davis, and $2,000 is from a developer that is a regular Republican donor.
Before Mr. Schoeneman’s well wishers comment: The $6,400 figure includes a $500.00 donation from Sarah Chamberlain of the Republican Mainstreet Partnership. As I pointed out in March, Union money flows through this organization like water.
The big difference between 2011 and 2015? Mr. Schoeneman is seeking a Republican nomination in a firehouse primary against two individuals without such glaringly non-Republican ties.
Serving two masters
Being a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is considered a part time position. Nonetheless, the Board voted itself a pay increase from $75,000 to $95,000 on March 3, 2015. Mr. Schoeneman, in a stroke of genius, immediately committed to donating that extra $20,000 to charity if elected. Still, this pales in comparison to his day job. As a lobbyist for the Seafarers International Union he was paid at least $100,000** in 2014 (Publicly available data regarding spending on lobbyists as filed with the U.S. Senate).
If he is being paid $75,000 from the Supervisor position and $330,000 from his lobbyist position, and his supervisor position involves substantial constituent demands, but his lobbyist position is so undemanding as to allow him to blog regularly or door knock on regular weekdays, which of these masters is he likely to serve if they are opposed?
The unions or the voters of the Sully District?
But Unions don’t have anything to do with local government in Virginia, right?
Mr. Schoeneman is correct that he is unable to negatively affect Virginia’s right to work status at the local level. It does not end there though. Union lobbying has played a big role in two major areas in Fairfax County in the past five years. First is the issue of basic budgeting. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ primary role is in prioritizing the spending of taxpayer dollars. Unions have come out in opposition of modest budget cuts and refusal to grant cost of living increases for county employees. This will be a regular battle. The other issue is with large scale capital improvements. Large scale capital improvements, such as the expansion of METRO implicate the possibility of Project Labor Agreements [PLA’s]. PLA’s mandate the use of union labor. When imposed on a project there is a two-fold problem. A. The cost of the project is almost universally higher than if there is no PLA, a burden that will fall to County taxpayers, and B. As Virginia is a right to work state a PLA almost necessitates the use of contractors from outside Virginia when there are contractors (local to Fairfax County) ready willing and able to provide the services if there is no PLA. In recent history, the Republican Supervisors have universally opposed PLA’s for these very good reasons.
When Mr. Schoeneman, who receives essentially 50% of his campaign seed money from unions and over 50% of his income from unions, faces budget priorities and the latest attempt to impose a PLA on major capital improvements will he stand for Republican values and the taxpayers of Sully, or the Unions?
There are two candidates for Sully District Supervisor for whom you do not have to ask these questions. Vote for John Guevara or John Litzenberger on April 25.
UPDATE: **I accept Brian at his word that there are multiple lobbyists for SIU paid from the $330,000. Had it been obvious that this was the case I would not have published the earnings amount as I do believe he is entitled to some privacy on this issue, unless the information was already out there. Because I believe in this privacy I will presume his compensation to be a mere $100,000.00 which he is free to refute. I will explain this further in a soon to be published post.
*To be clear, this statement was about dividing one’s loyalty between God and money. The wisdom contained therein can be applied to any situation in which a person has loyalties that may put him at odds with a master in order to serve another master.