The National Right to Work Foundation has just filed an amicus brief in Mark Gilmore v. Kate Gallego, a case currently pending before the Arizona Supreme Court. In the case, Phoenix city employees Mark Gilmore and Mark Harder are suing Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego for engaging in a scheme that redirects taxpayer funds intended for public employees’ compensation toward political advocacy conducted by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Field II agents on so-called “release time.”

Specifically, the plaintiffs’ lawsuit argues the Arizona Constitution prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars to fund four full-time positions for union officials for the purpose of conducting union business, in addition to a bank of over 3,000 paid hours to be used by other union officials for union purposes, and multiple other perks for union agents.

The Foundation’s brief argues that the release time scheme violates Arizona’s Gift Clause, which forbids government transactions that bestow benefits on private entities while serving no public purpose. The brief points out that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Foundation-won Janus v. AFSCME case demonstrates that, under the First Amendment, all government union activities are a form of lobbying designed to influence public policy for the benefit of the union. That means taxpayer subsidies of such activities inherently violate the Arizona Constitution’s Gift Clause.


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