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NEA Currently 4th Largest Super PAC Contributor
posted by: Alix | April 27, 2012, 07:51 PM   

With education and labor issues being hotly debated across the country and the rise of "super" Political Action Committees (PACs), insiders have predicted that 2012 election spending will reach record levels. Beaten down after over two solid years of negative press, declining membership, and legislative and legal battles, the National Education Association is seeking to come back with a vengeance in 2012. The nation's largest union is currently being tracked as the 4th largest national super PAC contributor.

Last summer, the NEA prematurely endorsed President Obama's re-election campaign and approved a measure that doubled individual member contributions to their political action funds from $10 to $20. Following the controversial moves, NEA PAC funds have been reaching state and federal elections coast to coast.

In March, the teachers union gave $3 million to its super PAC, the NEA Advocacy Fund. A week later, the super PAC gave $500,000 to the We Are Wisconsin Political Fund, a group supporting "progressive public policies all across Wisconsin." The group is part of a coalition effort to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker in the state's June 5 special election.

The NEA super PAC also gave $80,000 to North Carolina-based group Common Sense Matters, which spent money last year opposing two Republican candidates for the Wake County school board.

Also in March, the NEA gave $100,000 to the pro-Democrat American Bridge 21st Century super PAC, which has received large donations from other labor unions including $575,000 from its top organizational donor, the public employee union American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

According to The Hill, the union spent $350,000 on a September ad supporting President Obama's controversial "jobs bill." More recently, the union's "Education Votes" arm released a parody horror film trailer, to defeat corporate tax loopholes that are "shortchanging our children" and "devouring workers and the middle class."

The union has also set their sights on Republican congressional candidates for their proposed education reform preferences and reductions in spending. While numbers have yet to emerge on exactly how much the NEA will spend on federal elections this cycle, the union is poised to follow its sizeable spending ahead of 2010 numbers based on super PAC figures.

Numbers like these should be a wakeup call for all NEA members. If you or a colleague has questions about their membership status, make sure they understand where their dues are going. Teachers against funding these partisan elections should consider joining AAE and the non-union, nonpartisan educator movement.

What do you think about the NEA's status the 4th largest national super PAC contributor?
Comment below.

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