The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) is a labor union affiliated with the AFL-CIO that represents licensed mariners on U.S.-flagged merchant ships. As of 2019, MEBA reported a total of 24,448 members. 
Since its foundation, MEBA has financially supported and endorsed Democratic politicians for elected office along with Republican politicians who support protectionist legislation. The union has faced criticism for lobbying in favor of protectionist legislation to preserve mariner wages and employment at the expense of American consumers. 
In 1995, MEBA leaders, including a former MEBA president, were convicted on the charge of racketeering after extorting funding from members. 
MEBA formed in 1875 after the merge of several local labor unions of marine engineers. MEBA originally formed to promote safer conditions for steamboat workers and is the oldest maritime labor union in America. 
In 1966, MEBA created the Calhoon Engineering School to continue the effects of Operation Leap, a MEBA program created to quickly train high school graduates to meet the shortage of marine engineers during the Vietnam War. The school continues to offer marine engineer training and certificate programs for both MEBA and non-MEBA members. 
American Maritime Congress
The American Maritime Congress is a nonprofit organization that performs research on behalf of MEBA to aid in the union’s collective bargaining and lobbying efforts.  MEBA president Henry Ainley and other MEBA board members also sit as board members for the American Maritime Congress. In 2018, the American Maritime Congress reported revenue of $1,000,863. 
Aside from aiding maritime workers in collective bargaining efforts, MEBA has been involved in left-of-center lobbying in favor of protectionist legislation since the early 1900s.
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, otherwise known as the Jones Act, mandates that vessels used for transport between American ports must be made and owned by Americans and have a crew that consists of at least 75% American citizens. Despite criticisms that the bill damages American consumers and restricts maritime aid during natural disasters, MEBA and the American Maritime Congress support the Jones Act, claiming that it protects national security.  MEBA has lobbied extensively to protect the legislation, endorsing candidates, such as 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who profess support of the Jones Act. 
Cargo Preference Laws
Cargo preference laws require that all government-financed cargo ships are owned by Americans. MEBA has extensively advocated to protect cargo preference laws, claiming that the laws are vital to American ship operators.  Critics have argued that cargo preference laws cause a lack of competition that has resulted in a decrease in production, lower quality of service among cargo ships, and an inability of the American cargo industry to adapt to market changes. 
In December of 1994, MEBA official Donald Kenneth Masingo pleaded guilty to labor racketeering and conspiracy charges. As part of his plea, Masingo later testified against four other MEBA officials on extortion charges related to union activities in United States v. C. Eugene “Gene” Defries, et al.  The officials made fake ballots to allow them to maintain control over union elections and misappropriated union property and funds for personal gain. Each convicted official had to pay restitution to the union, including interest, and all but Masingo were sentenced to prison terms. 
In 2018, MEBA reported $226,230 in total revenue, almost all of which came from membership dues.   That same year, MEBA reported $226,780 in total expenses, most of which were classified as payments to affiliated organizations. 
Between the 2012 and 2020 election cycles, MEBA donated $2,594,938 to Democratic congressional campaigns and $723,880 to Republican congressional campaigns.