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October 27, 2010
Contact: Ben DeGrow, Policy Analyst 303-279-6536, firstname.lastname@example.org
NEA Spends Teacher Dues on Negative Political Ads
GOLDEN, Colo.—The Independence Institute is calling out the nation’s largest teachers union for spending large sums of teacher money on negative political advertising in Colorado. The National Education Association (NEA) has reported spending nearly $1.9 million in independent expenditures to purchase ads to attack U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck. The money is drawn from general dues funds collected from education employee members in Colorado and nationwide. The NEA’s new $547,000 radio ad purchase follows a $1.35 million anti-Buck television campaign rated by the Denver Post as “leans deceptive.” “Many teachers don’t like their money used this way,” said Independence Institute education policy analyst Ben DeGrow. “Besides leaving the union, there really isn’t anything they can do about it.” All members who join an NEA-affiliated local or state union are obligated to support the NEA with dues contributions. While the NEA contribution is entirely nonrefundable, a designated political share of automatic contributions to the Colorado Education Association ($39) and to many local union offices (up to $24) are available for refund if requested each year before a deadline. In addition to the anti-Buck ads, NEA’s Colorado state and local affiliates have reported spending $1.24 million of member funds on state-level elections. More than 99 percent of the unions’ political giving has supported Democratic candidates, parties or 527 committees. This year the Colorado Education Association has sent more than $250,000 to the 527 group “Accountability for Colorado,” heavily criticized by Denver Post columnist Vincent Carroll for producing “very likely the sleaziest piece of paid political advertising this year in Colorado.” “The least the union could do is ask first before taking teachers’ money to spend on politics, especially this kind of dishonest and nasty advertising,” DeGrow said. The Independence Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy research organization based in Golden, Colo. More information on Colorado teacher
$1.9 Million from Members Used against Colorado U.S. Senate Candidate
membership options and related topics is available online at IndependentTeachers.org.
13952 Denver West Parkway, Suite 400 · Golden, CO 80401 · www.independenceinstitute.org