Teacher's union pay to play
If this isn't illegal, it should be.
From a Washington Post editorial:
The union, representing 11,000 teachers, helpfully provides a road map to candidates seeking its blessing, including 11 criteria spelled out in painstaking detail online. Just one thing is missing from this handy guide: Candidates who receive the union's stamp of approval are also then expected to pay.
As far as we know, this arrangement is unique; in elections elsewhere, unions and other special interests contribute to candidates, not vice versa. But such is the overweening power of the teachers union in Montgomery that the usual rules are turned upside down. And it's no coincidence that the union's toxic influence in local elections is matched by its success in squeezing unaffordable concessions from the county in contract negotiations -- at taxpayers' expense.
In the latest elections for the Montgomery County Council, in 2006, most candidates on the union-approved (and trademarked) "Apple Ballot" coughed up the maximum contribution allowed by state law, $6,000, to a PAC run by the Montgomery County Education Association, as the teachers union is known. Union-backed candidates for the Board of Education also paid handsomely. Supposedly, these funds covered the cost of the union's mailings to constituents and other activities on behalf of its anointed candidates -- although there is no real accounting on a campaign-by-campaign basis.
In theory, these "contributions" (extortion?) are voluntary. In fact, several sources told the Post that the union's political action guy "made it clear that he expected candidates, once endorsed, to pay what they "owed" for the union's campaign on their behalf. One candidate, asked to explain the decision to pay, answered concisely: "Fear.""
Looks like the mild mannered teachers have figured out how to use union muscle.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky