- Greg Penner
- Arthur Rock
- David Goldberg and Sheryl Sandberg
- Kent Thiry
- Lydia Callaghan
- Alan and Jennifer Fournier
A commenter at my post, however, objects to my characterization of this reformy intrusion into politics:
Might be disappointing, but there's no conspiracy here - just regular old political organizing and mobilization. Virtually all of the names that you mention above were candidates supported by DFER: http://www.dfer.org/blog/2012/11/2012_election_r.phpI think this comment deserves a full response:
The claim that something untoward is happening here is pretty baseless - the idea of recommended candidates is a basic one, pursued by politically minded groups across the spectrum - see
http://emilyslist.org/ or http://www.neafund.org/main.cfm?actionId=globalShowStaticContent&screenKey=cmpContent&s=nea&htmlKey=aboutrecommendednew
Via the DFER mailing list, I supported a number of these candidates myself.
- First: this isn't a large, uncoordinated group of people dropping $25 or $100 donations on an approved list of candidates. We're talking about the coordinated spending of hundreds of thousands of dollars on low-level races throughout the country by a small group of very wealthy individuals. The idea that these people are independently giving to a list of candidates strains credulity.
- Second: many of the candidates I named were not on the DFER list the commenter cited. Missing were:
- The Perth Amboy, NJ Board of Education candidates.
- Half of the Colorado legislature candidates: Andy Kerr, Pete Lee, Brittany Pettersen, Dave Young, and Chuck Rodosevich.
- Alison Serafin, candidate for the Nevada state BOE.
- Oregon State Representative Tobias Read.
- Jeff Klein, New York State Senator.
Using Google to search a website is, in my experience, imperfect; I did, however, search the names above at the "www.dfer.org" domain. It's true that most of the slate in Colorado was endorsed by DFER. And DFER did endorse Klein in 2010; however, I could find no prominent endorsement for 2012. And no hits for Perth Amboy, Serafin, or Read.
So how did this wealthy and reformy bunch know to send their money to all of these candidates - even the ones DFER didn't mention?
- Third: the DFER "Hot List" did intrigue me: did the Reformy Eight endorse any other candidates on this list? I can't say for certain that they didn't endorse some candidates: state campaign finance databases vary in quality and accuracy, so it's possible some donations were made that didn't get into the records. I can only say that I spent some time looking at state- and local-level races on the list, and I found this:
- Callaghan, Penner, Goldberg, Sandberg, and Rock gave a total of $34,000 to the Indiana State Senate campaigns of Tim DeLaney and Mary Ann Sullivan.
- The entire Reformy Eight gave a total of
$34,400$17,200* to Sarah Usdin's campaign for the Orleans Parish School Board.
- I couldn't find evidence in state records of giving to any of the other names on the list.
So the Reformy Eight gave to some of the candidates on the DFER list - but not all. And, again, they gave to several candidates who were not explicitly endorsed by DFER.
So let's get real: this isn't a group of independent folks, acting on their own, who happened to give to a variety of low-level races.
This is a organized, nation-wide money bomb, worth $230,930* that I can document, clearly coordinated and funded by very wealthy people (many of whom have ties to a charter management organization) and targeted at state- and local-level races.
In other words: someone bundled these people's money and used it in targeted races. Who was it?
We'll never tell.
ADDING: As to the comparison of the Reformy Eight to the NEA fund:
When you can show me a married couple of teachers who've dropped $40K in one election cycle on a series of local and state races, let me know.
* Update: Seems like I double counted here. But there are more races that I didn't include. Stand by...