NEA Spends $133 Million on Lobbyists

According to Dropout Nation's analysis of the National Education Association's 2010-2011 LM-2 filing, the nation's largest teachers' union spent $133 million over the last year on lobbying and contributions to groups with whom they share common goals, writes RiShawn Biddle.

Here is a breakdown of some of the biggest beneficiaries:

The Economic Policy Institute received a tidy $255,000, while Al Sharpton's National Action Network got $40,000 – despite being a leader backer of charter schools, something that the NEA opposes strongly.

ProgressNow's affiliates in Michigan and Colorado, received $10,000 and $125,000, making them some of the biggest NEA beneficiaries. ProgressNow was one of the key players in ousting school reform-minded Michigan legislator Paul Scott while decrying Gov. Rick Snyder's efforts to expand charter schools and school choice.

Progressive Majority collected $46,625 from the union this year to develop its membership communications strategy. The NEA also gave Progressive Future $100,000 for "Ed policy issue advocacy".

Communities for Quality Education has long been favored by the NEA and this year collected a massive $1 million.

NEA also directly donated $43,000 to the Save Our Schools rally held in the summer.

The numbers also showed how much NEA chiefs made last year. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel received a 16 percent increase over the previous year, making a cool $460,060, while his major domo, Lily Eskelson, collected $371,904, at a 14 percent increase.

Only union Treasurer Rebecca Pringle earned less money over the previous year, picking up $325,384 last fiscal year, a 5 percent decrease over 2009-2010.

Overall, the NEA collected $399 million in dues and other revenues in 2010-2011, despite a four percent decline in membership, from 3.3 million members in 2009-2010 to 3.2 million in 2010-2011.

The revenue stream included $3.1 million in income from NEA Member Benefits, the controversial affiliate that peddles annuities and other financial instruments to its members."

The NEA also recovered $122,808 from one of the two former employees fired in 2010 after being discovered to have siphoned off $227,626 in member dollars over five years, however the NEA refused to further disclose how such lax fiscal control activity could happen for such a long time, as reported at

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