Ed News Colorado Highlights Teachers Union Political Contributions, Member Refunds

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….

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Colorado Education Association Members: Do You Know How Your Dues Money Is Being Spent?

Attention, Colorado teachers and other public education employees: Do you belong as a member (or as a non-member fee-payer) to the Colorado Education Association? If so, how much do you know about how your dues money is used? It’s a good question, isn’t it? If you went to the CEA office, or your local union office, and asked to see the financial records from the most recent fiscal year, what would you find out?

Part of your dues money goes directly to the National Education Association ($158 for full-time members in 2008-09). You can learn about the NEA’s revenues and expenditures by going to this official U.S. Department of Labor site, typing 000-342 in the File Number box at the top, and clicking “Submit”.

But $363 of full-time union members’ money goes to CEA. And you know what? CEA is exempt from the requirement to file the Labor Department disclosure. So is your local association and your local UniServ office – where anywhere from another $175 to $290 per year in full-time dues goes.

To dig a little deeper into this issue, please read the new report Setting the Standard for Pro-Worker Transparency (PDF). And take a listen to this 10-minute iVoices podcast interview with the paper’s author Ben DeGrow:

So have you gone down to the CEA or local union office to ask to take a look at the books? If so, what did you find out? Wouldn’t it be easier to see an annual report filed online with a Colorado state agency – something like the reports filed with the U.S. Department of Labor?

December 15 deadline for Colorado Education Association Members to Request Political Refund

In this 2-minute video, a Jefferson County teacher advertises the Independent Teachers site and tells interested Colorado Education Association members how they can get refunds from CEA ($39) and their local unions (as much as $24) before December 15:

To learn how to obtain the political refunds, including a link to the online request form and refund request contact information, go here.

Or you can go directly to CEA’s Every Member Option refund request page here.

December 15: Political Refund Deadline for Colorado Education Association Members

The busy Christmas season is upon us. As the winter holiday break rushes closer and closer, members of the Colorado Education Association (CEA) may forget about – if they’re even aware of – the opportunity to receive a refund of the Every Member Option (EMO) political contribution deducted along with their dues.

To get back the $39 EMO from CEA, members can go here to this simple online request form.

You can find more information on the CEA refund – or separate EMO refunds available to CEA members in Jefferson County ($24), Denver ($24), Adams 12 ($24), Pueblo 60 ($24), Boulder Valley ($12), Poudre ($11), St. Vrain ($10), Pueblo, or Mesa Valley ($6) – on the Political Refunds page.

You will find sample letters you can download and print from your computer that can be filled out quickly and easily, and dropped in the mail. In some cases, it’s even easier: There’s an email address to which you can send your refund request. Again, you will find this information on the Political Refunds page.

You can click here to compare how CEA and its local affiliates spent member money on political campaigns in 2008 with other membership organizations Colorado teachers are eligible to join.

Click here to submit a question by email concerning any of the information on IndependentTeachers.org.

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

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.

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