So, the NEA spent $50 million on political activities and lobbying last year....

Cross-posted at LaborUnionReport.com

Recently, a friend received a heart-wrenching “letter” allegedly from a Philadelphia teacher named “Wendy C.”

Assuming that “Wendy” is a real person (and not some astroturfing union stooge), we’ll giver her the benefit of the doubt for a fleeting moment as you take the time to read [emphasis added] “Wendy’s” letter:

Right now, my job — along with those of my colleagues — could be in jeopardy.

I’m a public school teacher in Philadelphia. And, like most states across the country, Pennsylvania is facing some bad budget shortfalls.

Without federal help, a lot of teachers like me — as well as other public servants like police officers and firefighters — will lose their jobs. Maybe you know some of these people. Maybe it’s you.

Democrats in Congress are trying to do the right thing, proposing emergency assistance for states to preserve more than 100,000 jobs like mine. They’re racing back to the Capitol for an emergency session this week to pass this bill and save these jobs.

But Republicans are standing in the way. Minority Leader John Boehner is calling the bill a “payoff” to “special interests” and attacking every Democrat who is fighting for us.

But I’m not a special interest. I’m a teacher.

Can you join me in telling House Democrats that they have our support as they fight for our jobs?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and the entire Democratic Caucus — have decided to rush back to Washington to make sure that hundreds of thousands of workers like me will get to keep our jobs. In addition, the bill will actually create even more job growth by closing tax loopholes for companies that ship American jobs overseas.

But the Republicans are going to do everything they can to prevent this aid.

Please stand with me, in support of Democratic leaders who are standing up for folks like me:


Thank you,

Wendy C.
Ambler, Pennsylvania

Wow! For not being a special interest, Wendy sure does have the special interest pitter patter down pat, including a nice little hyper-link to the DNC’s Organizing for America.

Given this, let’s assume for a minute that Wendy had some help writing her letter to our anonymous friend. Since Wendy claims to be a teacher in Philadelphia, she’s probably a member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), which is part of the National Education Association (NEA).  It’s also probably safe to assume that either the PSEA or, more likely, the NEA, drafted the “letter” in which Wendy claimed she isn’t a special interest before attaching her name to the letter.

So, for argument’s sake, let take a look at just how much the we’re-not-a-special-interest group NEA rakes in, shall we?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2009, the National Education Association raked in a whopping $355,334,165 in “dues and agency fees” from (mostly) teachers around the country.  With moneys coming from other receipts and interest payments, the NEA’s total take in 2009 was $377,365,590.

With all that money coming in, you’d think the NEA was sitting pretty, right?

Well, like many unions, the NEA spent just a tad more than it brought in.  In fact, it spent $388,289,409—close to $11 million more than it raked in.

So, where did all the money go?  Here’s where the NEA says it went:

50. Representational Activities 15 $49,260,204
51. Political Activities and Lobbying 16 $50,408,080
52. Contributions, Gifts, and Grants 17 $89,164,816
53. General Overhead 18 $49,657,808
54. Union Administration 19 $72,405,184
55. Benefits 20 $49,601,019
56. Per Capita Tax $3,887,607
57. Strike Benefits $26,089
58. Fees, Fines, Assessments, etc. $0
59. Supplies for Resale $5,823
60. Purchase of Investments and Fixed Assets 4 $9,703,226
61. Loans Made 2 $6,672,337
62. Repayment of Loans Obtained 9 $0
63. To Affiliates of Funds Collected on Their Behalf $27,492
64. On Behalf of Individual Members $10,812
65. Direct Taxes $8,087,472
66. Subtotal $388,917,969
67. Withholding Taxes and Payroll Deductions
67a. Total Withheld $28,843,125
67b. Less Total Disbursed $28,214,565
67c. Total Withheld But Not Disbursed $628,560
68. TOTAL DISBURSEMENTS $388,289,409

With more money going out than coming in, it’s fairly easy to see why the NEA is worried about losing members.  Easy, that is, until you start looking at how the NEA spent its members’ money.

Actually, when the union spent $50 million on “political activities and lobbying,” as compared to only $49 million on representational activities, it is actually harder to see how the NEA isn’t a special interest.

Further, when the NEA reportedly celebrates the anniversary of Mao Zedong’s communist takeover of China, the question must be asked, if Wendy isn’t a special interest, then what is she?


“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”  Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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