NEA Executive Director Could Become the Left’s Big Enchilada

A few relevant excerpts from this morning’s Politico story headlined “The left’s secret club plans for 2014, 2016“:

Some of the country’s biggest Democratic donors — including Tom Steyer and Jonathan Soros — are huddling behind closed doors next week in Chicago with union bigwigs and progressive superstars like Bill de Blasio to plan how to pull their party — and the country — to the left.

The setting is the annual spring meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a secretive club of wealthy liberals that’s the closest thing the left has to the vaunted Koch brothers’ political network.

The DA, as the liberal group is known to insiders, is increasing its ranks of rich donors for the first time in years and is gearing up to spend huge sums on political data, voter registration, ground organizing and advertising to influence the 2014 midterms and 2016 presidential elections.

…DA conferences are typically kept hush-hush, with locations tightly held, press barred from the sessions and participants prohibited from discussing the proceedings.

…The courting of rich Democrats in Chicago comes as some of the party’s top names continue a discordant character assault on major conservative donors as eroding the very fabric of American democracy. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has repeatedly blasted the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch as “un-American” and accused them of “actually trying to buy the country.”

Democracy Alliance partners, as the group calls its members, pay annual dues of $30,000 and are required to contribute a total of at least $200,000 a year to recommended groups. Since its inception in 2005, the DA has steered upward of $500 million to a range of groups, including pillars of the political left such as the conservative media watchdog Media Matters, the policy advocacy outfit Center for American Progress and the data firm Catalist — all of which are run by Clinton allies.

…And in June, the board is expected to elect a new chair to replace Rob McKay, an heir to a Taco Bell fortune who has been chair since 2006. McKay, an early Obama supporter, sat on the board of Priorities USA, the super PAC that boosted Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and this year switched its allegiances to Clinton in advance of a hoped-for 2016 presidential campaign.

National Education Association executive John Stocks, is among the leading candidates to replace McKay, DA sources say, and would be the group’s first chair who is not a major donor and who hails from organized labor.

Maybe Stocks isn’t a major donor, but NEA member dues money has been contributed to the Democracy Alliance over the years, most recently $235,000 in 2011-12 and $155,000 in 2012-13. But those are discount prices for your typical secret corporate cabal, so consider yourselves fortunate.