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

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.

CAGA also accused Republican state house candidate Rick Enstrom of having been arrested for a drug offense, heavily distorting an incident by contradicting official police reports. A private legal complaint has been filed in this case, with threats of further legal action.

The vast majority of teachers would not tolerate CAGA’s kind of false and ugly speech in their classrooms. Yet based on recent history, union officials had plenty of reason to expect the money would be spent on malicious and misleading advertisements.

In 2010 CEA and its local union affiliates made more than $250,000 in contributions to a similar 527 group Accountability for Colorado, with the same funders and bookkeeper. That group was denounced by candidates in both parties and by Denver Post columnist Vincent Carroll.

Every full-time CEA member automatically contributes $39 to the union’s state campaign arm through the Every Member Option program. The money is refundable each year with a timely request. Depending on which school district she works in, a teacher may have additional political campaign funds up to $24 taken out of her paycheck that can be refunded with a separate request.

I wonder how many teachers helping to fund these ad campaigns have any idea of their tacit involvement?