This is the first in a series of posts that will detail the 2011 political spending by California state workers' unions. The records are downloaded from the California Secretary of State's office and reflect activity filed as of Jan. 31, 2012.
A political action committees operated by SEIU Local 1000 gave $380,000 to campaigns and organizations last year, including nearly $195,000 to the Democratic State Central Committee of California, according to records filed with the state.
The union also donated a total of $21,000 to help retire 2010 campaign debts for Democrats such as Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara; Assemblyman SandrÃ© Swanson, D-Alameda; and Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, among others.
One of the union's PACs donated several hundred dollars of staff time to politicians, including Controller John Chiang.
For a list of the union's political entities, click here. The union's reports to the state duplicated some expenditures. Note: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1991 that public sector employees may not be compelled to subsidize political or ideological activities of public employee unions.
We've embedded a spreadsheet below that details how the union's various political entities received and gave last year. To get a sense of political spending in California by other interest groups, check out Maplight.org (the California data on the site run through December 2010).
Editor's note, 2:29 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that unions could not use members' dues to fund PACs.