Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Electioneering Complaint Filed Against National Voucher Group

By Lisa Kaiser
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The indefatigable Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC) filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board (GAB) claiming that the national voucher group American Federation for Children didn’t disclose all of the money it spent on Wisconsin campaigns in 2012.

AFC told its supporters that it had spent almost $2.4 million on Wisconsin campaigns and candidates last year.

But they reported to the state GAB that it only spent $345,000 on candidates. The rest of the money was spent on so-called voter education.

AFC has a long and sordid past, and its present isn’t that much tidier.

It’s the employer of controversial Republican leader Scott Jensen and gets much of its funding from Michigan billionaires Dick and Betsy DeVos.

Interestingly, WDC includes in its complaint the AFC’s report to its members.

The “impact report” claims that AFC spent $2,392,000 in Wisconsin last year and brags about how voucher backers are helping to “strengthen” school choice in Milwaukee and Racine, is creating a special needs voucher and wants to expand the charter school authorizing body. They brag about spending more than $325,000 on Rick Gudex’s campaign, which helped to turn the Senate Republican again.

What AFC didn’t brag about, though, is the string of losers that it backed in the Democratic primaries last summer. 

AFC dumped at least $100,000 in support of the losing campaigns of Elizabeth Coggs, Millie Coby, Jason Fields, Jarrett Fields and Tracey Dent.

Democratic voters rejected all of them.

Still, the AFC does have at least one Democratic supporter in the state Legislature.

According to her latest Statement of Economic Interests filed with the GAB, Democratic Sen. Lena Taylor received a $1,000 scholarship to attend AFC's convention.

(Taylor also received a $1,250 scholarship to attend the convention of Howard Fuller’s Black Alliance for Educational Opportunity.)


 

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