Many Colorado teachers may be unknowingly funding a political group under government investigation and private legal complaint for creating multiple “negative ads were filled with outrageous and unfounded claims.”
An article by Colorado Media Trackers highlights the detestable activities of the 527 group Colorado Accountable Government Alliance (CAGA). The Colorado Education Association’s small donor “Public Education Committee” this year has made two separate $50,000 contributions (July 10 and August 2) to CAGA.
Nonpartisan state house candidate Kathleen Curry, the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, has been falsely attacked by CAGA as opposing insurance coverage for mammograms. Summit County officials have opened an ethics violation investigation in this case. Read more…
Back in September we noted that Colorado teachers unions (the Colorado Education Association and American Federation of Teachers) had reported giving a combined 99.8 percent of their political contributions from member dues to the Democratic Party and its candidates, as well as pro-Democrat organizations, in the 2009-2010 election cycle. These contributions only cover state and local political races.
Well, at least through October 28 of this election cycle (all but the last five days of the campaign), the final figure for the share of CEA and AFT political giving going to Democrats is 99.9 percent of more than $1.5 million total — including more than a quarter million to the 527 group Accountability for Colorado called out by journalists and by candidates in both parties for maliciously distorting the truth in attacking political candidates.
See the breakdown of numbers below (click “Fullscreen” for clearest view):
Five organizations – the Colorado Education Association, American Federation of Teachers-Colorado, the Colorado Association of School Executives, Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform – backed legislative candidates. (The school executives only endorsed; political committees affiliated with the other groups gave financial contributions. Stand didn’t give money to every candidate it endorsed.)
Here’s the scorecard by organization:
* CEA – Contributed to 41 candidates; 31 of those won. 75.6 percent.
* AFT – Contributed to 42 candidates; 31 of those won. 73.8 percent.
* CASE – Endorsed 32 candidates; 27 of those won. 84.3 percent.
* Stand – Endorsed or contributed to 18 candidates; 15 of those won. 83.3 percent.
* DFER – Contributed to only two Democratic Senate candidates; both won. 100 percent.
While the unions won about 75 percent of their endorsed candidate races, more telling is the close and high-profile races where they invested the most money. Below is a more detailed scorecard that shows the top 20 state candidates supported by Colorado teachers union contributions in 2010.
In their biggest 20 financial outlays of member dues to support Democrats running for office (99.9% of CEA and AFT political funds backed Colorado Democrats), the unions finished an even .500 — winning 10 and losing 10. Those who were successfully elected are marked in green, while those who were defeated are marked in red. Click “Fullscreen” for the best view of the list:
Right now, it’s the heart of political season. That means some teacher organizations — the Colorado Education Association (CEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) — are actively involved in contributing member funds to various campaigns. (Other teacher organizations do not collect or distribute member money for political contributions.) As Ed News Colorado reports today with a dog bites man headline: “Union contributions mount up.”
$494,015 to progressive and Democratic 527 and 501c4 political action groups
$260,110 to Democratic candidates and party organizations
$1,500 to a Republican organization (but no candidates) — That’s one dollar to Republicans for every 173 dollars to Democrats
And now the AFT:
$63,980 to progressive and Democratic 527 and 501c4 political action groups
$50,000 to Democratic candidates and party organizations
$0 to Republicans
Added together, Colorado teachers unions have contributed 99.8 percent of their combined political spending for 2010 to one party: the Democrats. Somehow, I’m guessing that CEA and AFT members won’t vote this year in quite the same proportion. Where’s the balance?
Check out our political contributions page for some context, to see how imbalanced teachers union political giving is even by recent historical standards.
Former teacher Larry Sand reports that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has enacted a policy protecting teachers in the Lone Star State from automatic payroll deductions to political action committees.
Members of the Texas State Teachers Association who want to give to their organization’s political agenda still have the right and the convenient access to make contributions directly. Kudos to Mr. Abbott for using his authority to take the government out of the role as middleman in political contributions and empower teachers to make individual choices that suit them best.
The CEA and its local unions gave more than $600,000 directly to state legislative candidates over the five years, often piling on in tight races. Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, the chair of the Senate Education Committee and one of the top recipients of teachers’ union donations, hit the contribution limit from the statewide CEA and from each of the Denver, Fort Collins and Jefferson County unions in his hard-fought 2004 election victory….
The final reports are in for political contributions for 2008. The Colorado Education Association (CEA) and its affiliates narrowly topped one million dollars in giving to political candidates and parties.
* $452,360 to Democratic candidates and party organizations
* $263,500 to the 527 group Accountability for Colorado to support political candidates — Accountability for Colorado is also funded by liberal billionaires from the “Gang of Four”
* $210,000 to the 527 group Colorado Citizens’ Coalition to support “progressive” political candidates
* $9,250 to Republican candidates and party organizations — that’s 1 dollar to Republicans for every 49 dollars to Democrats
Note: This does not include $4,657,810 contributed to the issue committee Protect Colorado’s Future and $1,600,000 to the issue committee Coloradans for Middle Class Relief to oppose three Colorado state ballot initiatives.
And for AFT:
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Colorado has reported $60,275 in political contributions during the current election cycle – including $40,275 to Democratic candidates and party organizations and $0 to Republicans.
As usual, other membership groups that Colorado teachers are eligible to join did not spend any money on the 2008 election because they do not sponsor any committees to fund political action:
Through October 8, the Colorado Education Association (CEA) and its affiliates, mostly through Every Member Option funds, have reported $890,335 in political contributions during the current election cycle – including:
* $422,635 to Democratic candidates and party organizations
* $200,000 to the 527 group Colorado Citizens’ Coalition to support “progressive” political candidates
* $173,500 to the 527 group Accountability for Colorado to support political candidates — Accountability for Colorado is also funded by liberal billionaires from the “Gang of Four”
* $9,250 to Republican candidates and party organizations — that’s 1 dollar to Republicans for every 30 dollars to Democrats
And for AFT:
Through October 8, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Colorado has reported $28,775 in political contributions during the current election cycle – $28,775 to Democratic candidates and party organizations and $0 to Republicans.