Intercepts

A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

NEA & ACORN: The Details

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 24•09

Judging by my e-mail, while I was away a lot of you became interested in the relationship between NEA and ACORN. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why ACORN is in the news, and curiosity about NEA’s connection was fueled by stories at Freedom@Work and BigGovernment.com. NEA released a finely crafted statement about the controversy.

Over the past few years, I’ve collected and itemized NEA’s contributions to advocacy organizations soon after the union files its annual Labor Department disclosure report (the most recent is here). NEA stated, “Since 2002, we have contributed approximately $400,000 to ACORN.” This is supported by the available documentation, but there are limitations.

The approximately $400,000 actually covers a shorter period – from October 2006 to August 2008. Which organizations received funds during the height of the Presidential race last year won’t be known until NEA files – and the Department of Labor posts – the 2008-09 report. We do know that NEA made no contribution to ACORN between fiscal years 2004 and 2006 because we have itemization of the union’s spending. Prior to 2004, spending was lumped under “contributions, gifts and grants.” Back then, even union delegates had difficulty finding out where the money went.

Here’s what we know, working backwards chronologically:

* 8/13/2008 – $13,000 categorized under “community public education grants” to ACORN in Brooklyn, New York.

* 8/13/2008 – $19,000 categorized under “community public education grants” to ACORN in Brooklyn, New York.

* 1/24/2008 – $100,000 categorized under “nonpartisan voter registration” to ACORN in Little Rock, Arkansas.

* 11/26/2007 – $6,000 categorized under “community public education grants” to ACORN in Brooklyn, New York.

* 9/4/2007 – $24,000 categorized under “community public education grants” to ACORN in Brooklyn, New York.

* 9/4/2007 – $12,000 categorized under “community public education grants” to ACORN in Brooklyn, New York.

* 2007-08 – $4,000 to ACORN in “non-itemized transactions.”

* 3/15/2007 – $10,000 categorized under “community public education grants” to ACORN in DC.

* 10/19/2006 – $200,000 categorized under “nonpartisan voter registration” to ACORN in DC.

* 10/12/2006 – $6,452 categorized under “community public education grants” to ACORN in DC.

* 2006-07 – $2,000 to ACORN in “non-itemized transactions.”

* In 2005-06, no NEA money went to ACORN, with the only voter registration grant going to the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute.

* In 2004-05, no NEA money went to ACORN, with the Wisconsin Citizen Action Fund, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and the League of United Latin American Citizens receiving voter registration funds.

* In 2003-04, we only know that NEA contributed a total of $968,074 to non-profits not affiliated with NEA.

* In 2002-03, we only know that NEA contributed $304,980 to groups for “nonpartisan get-out-the-vote activities.”

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