Teachable Moment: NEA Dumps Millions Targeting Buck
In a year when outside spending has exploded on all levels but has been especially apparent in the record spending in the U.S. Senate race in Colorado, the spending of involuntary union dues has been overshadowed but not ignored:
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 non-refundable, 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. [emphasis added]