Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. (SPJ)
Waiting for Superman
Taken together, the two biggest teacher’s unions, the NEA and AFT, are the largest campaign contributors in the country. Over the last 20 years, they’ve given over $55 million to federal candidates and their parties, more than the Teamsters, the NRA or any other individual organization.
“Taken together,” the NEA (National Education Association) and AFT (American Federation of Teachers) are not an individual organization. The comparison is misleading. From 1989-2012, the NEA ranked 5th among political contributions by special interests, behind AFSCME (a conglomeration of local unions), AT&T Corp. and the National Association of Realtors.
The NEA and the AFT are the only organizations representing the interests of teachers. The proper comparison is between organizations serving teachers “taken together” and organizations serving other interests “taken together.” For example, how do the political donations of teachers’ unions compare to those of the banking industry?
Education & Banking National Education Assn $42 million Goldman Sachs $39 million American Federation of Teachers $34 million Citigroup Inc $30 million American Bankers Assn $26 million JPMorgan Chase & Co $25 million Morgan Stanley $23 million Bank of America $21 million UBS AG $18 million Credit Suisse Group $15 million Merrill Lynch $14 million Teachers’ Unions $76 million Banks & Investment Banks $211 million
“Taken together,” the banking industry is the largest campaign contributor in the country. Its political donations are almost triple those of the teachers’ unions.
The organizations that should be “taken together” are those that share self-interests. The self-interest of the rest of the financial sector overlaps that of the banks (they all want financial deregulation, for example):
Other Interest Groups in Financial Sector National Assn of Realtors $44 million Credit Union National Assn $21 million Deloitte LLP $20 million Ernst & Young $20 million PricewaterhouseCoopers $19 million AFLAC Inc $17 million Natl Assn/Insurance & Financial Advisors $17 million American Institute of CPAs $14 million American Financial Group $13 million KPMG LLP $13 million New York Life Insurance $12 million Prudential Financial $11 million Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance $11 million MetLife Inc $11 million Indep Insurance Agents & Brokers/America $11 million Other Financial $254 million TOTAL Education Sector $76 million Financial Sector $465 million
“Taken together,” the financial sector gave six times more money to political candidates and parties than the “education sector”.
Some other special interest groups, taken together:
Telecommunication Industry AT&T Inc $49 million Time Warner $22 million Verizon Communications $22 million Comcast Corp $15 million BellSouth Corp $13 million TOTAL $121 million *Communications Workers of America $32 million Military Industry Lockheed Martin $22 million General Electric $22 million Boeing Co $18 million Northrop Grumman $15 million General Dynamics $14 million Honeywell International $14 million Raytheon Co $13 million TOTAL $118 million *Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union $28 million
* Relevant unions, which I didn’t count in the industry totals, although they have overlapping interests.
Waiting for Superman’s statement that “…the NEA and AFT are the largest campaign contributors in the country” is absurd. It violates the journalist’s pledge to serve the public with honesty.