Analyzing a curious contribution by the NEA
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Published: 20-Nov-2011


The National Education Association used voluntary member donations (which may include contributions from members of the Oklahoma Education Association) to contribute $2,500 to the presidential campaign of Congressman Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, according to Federal Election Commission records outlining the labor union’s 2010 political activities.

There is one – no, make that at least two – curiosities about that.
Chris Dodd abandoned his bid for the presidency in 2008.


In addition to an organization that represents itself as the world’s largest democratic organization, contributing to a presidential campaign without consulting its member representatives across the land adds up to a blatant disregard for the stated structure of the labor union.

Giving money to a candidate its members hadn’t voted to support would be a significant transgression, according to the way the organization is touted to operate.


Members from affiliates organization-wide attend an annual gathering called a Representative Assembly every July. That’s when they vote to tell the NEA what direction to take for the next year.

The significant decision such as contributing to a presidential candidate wasn’t taken up until July 2011. The contribution to Chris Dodd’s abandoned presidential bid occurred in 2010, months ahead of the 2011 decision by the members’ delegates decision to support re-election President Barack Obama.


Dodd later returned the contribution, but that might not repair what could be perceived as a blatant betrayal of member trust. And it’s hardly plausible that the nation’s largest labor union and its well-oiled political machine couldn’t possibly make a mistake like that.

Some might argue that it further clouds the political activities of the NEA and exactly what the motives are for its legislative maneuvering. Many argue that NEA’s legislative activities dominate its activities far more than it lets on.
NEA isn’t talking, nor is the Oklahoma Education Association. FEC filings reflect the fact that the NEA has management personnel whose titles are “Manager, Secrecy.”

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