Tuesday, January 03, 2006

NEA... Show Us the Money...

From the Wall Street Journal Editorial page:

If we told you that an organization gave away more than $65 million last year to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Amnesty International, AIDS Walk Washington and dozens of other such advocacy groups, you'd probably assume we were describing a liberal philanthropy. In fact, those expenditures have all turned up on the financial disclosure report of the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union.

Under new federal rules pushed through by Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, large unions must now disclose in much more detail how they spend members' dues money. Big Labor fought hard (if unsuccessfully) against the new accountability standards, and even a cursory glance at the NEA's recent filings--the first under the new rules--helps explain why. They expose the union as a honey pot for left-wing political causes that have nothing to do with teachers, much less students.

We already knew that the NEA's top brass lives large. Reg Weaver, the union's president, makes $439,000 a year. The NEA has a $58 million payroll for just over 600 employees, more than half of whom draw six-figure salaries. Last year the average teacher made only $48,000, so it seems you're better off working as a union rep than in the classroom.

According to the latest filing, member dues accounted for $295 million of the NEA's $341 million in total receipts last year. But the union spent $25 million of that on "political activities and lobbying" and another $65.5 million on "contributions, gifts and grants" that seemed designed to further those hyper-liberal political goals.

Its just too wonderful that unions have to disclose how they waste their member's money.

And if I was a teacher and NEA member I'd want to know why these pompous left-wing swindlers were sending my hard-earned money to Jesse Jackson and the Gay lobby. I could certainly think of better ways they could represent my interests as a teacher.

Surely those teachers who are not rabid leftists, and there may be many, could find a more pleasing group to represent them... and get them cheap insurance, cheap hotel rooms, or whatever else this liberal "sugar daddy," posing as a union, does.

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