Colo. Teachers Union Members Automatically Funding False, Malicious Political Ads

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Colorado Education Association, Political Contributions

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…

Michigan Considers Teacher-Empowering Payroll Reform, Like Colorado Did in 2008

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Political Contributions

Business Week features a brief story about a piece of legislation under consideration in the Michigan legislature:

A proposal that would prohibit public schools from automatically deducting union dues from employee paychecks is advancing in the Michigan Legislature.

The Republican-led House Oversight, Reform and Ethics Committee approved the measure Tuesday with a party line 4-2 vote. The measure advances to the House floor.

An email blast from the Education Action Group Foundation explains how this sort of proposal can help make unions more accountable to the members they serve: Read more…

Member Dues for Political Contributions: Colorado Teacher Unions Give 99.9% to Democrats in 2009-10

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Political Contributions

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):

2009-2010 Union Summary

Click here to see more on Colorado teachers union political contributions, including comparisons with 2006 and 2008.

Colorado Teacher Unions’ Top 20 Backed Candidates Finished .500 on Election Day

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Political Contributions

Education News Colorado has posted an interesting story today about the success rate of candidates backed by various education groups, including the teachers unions:

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:

Colorado Teachers Union Top 20 Candidates 2010

Click here to see more on Colorado teachers union political contributions, including comparisons with 2006 and 2008.

So… “How Much Does NEA Spend on Politics?”

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: National Education Association, Political Contributions

Of course, the answer to the question is: Depends what you mean. Some issues to consider:

  • Are we talking about the national union headquarters, state union affiliates and/or local union offices?
  • Are we only discussing “PAC money” or all the kinds of independent expenditures that regular dues money may be spent on?
  • Are we looking at spending only on political candidates or on local and state ballot issues, too?
  • Are we including only direct campaign contributions, or also “member communications” on political topics?

No one understands how this all works better than Mike Antonucci from the Education Intelligence Agency, and he explains it well in his latest Communique. Bookmark for future reference.

Colorado Teachers Unions Give 99.8 Percent of Political Funds to Democrats

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Political Contributions

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.”

Through September 1, here’s an updated overview of how the two unions have spent on political action for the current 2010 election cycle (all information provided by reports on the Colorado Secretary of State’s campaign finance database). First, CEA and its local affiliates have given:

  • $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.

Texas Blazes Trail for Protecting Teachers from Automatic Political Payroll Deductions

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Political Contributions

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.

Someone closely involved with the situation gives the history behind the new policy.

What’s good for teachers in Texas just might also be good for teachers in Colorado, don’t you think?

Ed News Colorado Highlights Teachers Union Political Contributions, Member Refunds

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Colorado Education Association, Political Contributions

The Independent Teachers website is not the only place keeping tabs on political contributions made with the professional dues money of Colorado public educators. This week, Ed News Colorado ran a great story by Nancy Mitchell documenting the recent history of campaign-related giving by the Colorado Education Association and its affiliates:

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….

Read more…

Colorado Education Association Tops Million Dollar Mark in 2008 Political Contributions

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Political Contributions

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.

Here are the details:

The Colorado Education Association (CEA) and its affiliates, mostly through Every Member Option funds, have reported $1,000,585 in political contributions during the 2007-08 election cycle – including:

* $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:

That closes the book on the 2008 election cycle and the roles of different Colorado teacher organizations. Where did your money go this past year?

Colorado Education Association Nears $900,000 in Political Contributions, Almost 99% to Democrats

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Colorado Education Association, Political Contributions

Information on political contributions by Colorado teacher organizations has been updated to reflect campaign reports through October 8. Here are the new totals. First, for CEA:

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.

As usual, these records are obtained through searches on the Colorado Secretary of State campaign finance database.