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0 comments | July 03, 2007 | 12:23 PM | posted by Ryan

Bylaw Amendment 2-A has been submitted to the RA to increase mandatory contributions to the Ballot Measure/Legislative Crisis and Media Campaign Funds. These funds are not a registered PAC, but are spent similarly.

Currently, every NEA member is forced to give $7 to the fund which is disbursed throughout the country as needed to fund offensive drives (imposing taxes on radioactive waste in Utah to increase education funding and lobbying against school choice legislation), fund defensive efforts to protect union turf (defeating California initiatives to reform tenure laws, onerous pension plans and campaign finance reform), and media drives to influence the publics’ perception of unions.

The amendment would increase dues to $10 a year. While the sum may not seem like much, many teachers do not agree with the way the union spends it. The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Davenport ruled that states can limit the use of these dues to purely non-political issues related to collective bargaining.

Also, because the Ballot Fund is not a PAC, contributions are illegal in some states. To compensate for this problem, the amendment says that the union can change the way it says it accounts for the money.

“Where necessary to avoid legal problems under state law, the Association and a state affiliate may, at the request of the state affiliate, enter into a written agreement providing that the money collected from members of that state affiliate shall not be used to deal with ballot measures, but shall be used only to deal with legislative crises and/or to fund national and state media campaigns. The Executive Committee shall develop guidelines to implement this Bylaw.”
Accordingly, when the Washington state campaign finance agency asked the NEA where the money came from, the union said it came from only in-state teachers. When the Nevada campaign finance agency asked where the money came from, the union said only from out-of-state teachers.

This sounds fishy to me if all the $10 “donations” are dumped into the same pot. How can the union say it is both ways? Does the NEA have a set of books for each state?

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