Analysis: Top Teachers Union Spent More on Politics Than on Its Members

Analysis: Top Teachers Union Spent More on Politics Than on Its Members National Education Association National Education Association. (Yurii Kibalnik/Dreamstime.com)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Thursday, 07 April 2022 02:52 PM

More than twice as much money was spent by the National Education Association (NEA) teachers union for political activities than on its membership needs, according to an analysis.

The Washington Examiner reported that data from the filings was compiled by the nonprofit Americans for Fair Treatment. It reveals the NEA, the country's largest teachers' union, donated about $66 million to political activities. Another $117 million went for "contributions, gifts, and grants" that were primarily political donations.

The Examiner said the analysis showed political activities expenditures accounted for 18% of the union's $374 million budget for 2020-2021. And the "contributions, gifts, and grants" accounted for 32% of expenditures.

The largest political spending — $15.7 million — went to its own political action committee, the NEA Advocacy Fund, according to the analysis.

By comparison, the union spent only 9% on direct assistance to its members. Membership in the NEA costs $200 a year.

"The National Education Association's political and charitable spending in 2020-2021 makes the NEA look more like a political organization than a membership organization," Americans for Fair Treatment told the Washington Examiner.

"The union spent $2 on politics for every $1 it spent on representing its members."

CEO David Osborne added: "Those numbers show where [the NEA's] priorities lie."

Politico noted the NEA endorsed Joe Biden for president in 2020.

At the time, Lily Eskelsen García, president of the 3 million-member teachers' union, praised Biden as a "tireless advocate for public education."

The Examiner noted that in addition to supporting political action committees backing Democrats, the NEA also made sizable donations to liberal advocacy groups. One $125,000 donation was made to the organization Project 2043, which aids "companies and nonprofit organizations achieve their Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility goals," according to its website.

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