Wikileaks Reveals NEA’s Efforts to “Manage the Activists at the RA” Re: Hillary Endorsement

Wikileaks is releasing a large number of hacked e-mails to and from John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. One of them should be interesting to readers of this blog, who include both those who follow the inner workings of teachers’ unions and those who are the inner workings of the teachers’ unions.

It’s a June 17, 2015 memo from Nikki Budzinski, the Clinton campaign’s labor outreach director. She describes various status updates with the unions the campaign is courting. It was written only four days after Clinton formally launched her campaign, and two weeks before the National Education Association Representative Assembly (RA) in Orlando. It suggests that Clinton declined an invitation to attend. Here is the relevant paragraph:

NEA. Today the formal decline for the RA was discussed internally and what steps would be needed next. The NEA (more then (sic) any other union) is more Democratically driven in process. They have requested several future commitments that I have noted in the spreadsheet. They are sincerely doing their best to manage the activists at the RA. It only takes 50 signatures to raise a resolution on the floor and I have been warned about a Northeastern Sanders contingent. I think it would be good to be organized on our own behalf with a few key folks in the room (NH and IA leaders) in case anything comes up. I am a little nervous about this event. That said, their steps are moving toward a October 2nd/3rd endorsement all going to plan. I would love to know any thoughts on this you might have.

Delegates to the RA and NEA’s many Sanders supporters may have thought they were participating in an open debate over which candidate to endorse in the Democratic primary. They did not know that NEA’s leaders already had a plan in place to endorse Clinton before she had even formally announced.

Sure, many of them suspected there was manipulation going on, but it’s quite another to find the cold evidence in a campaign memo. And, in fact, Hillary was endorsed at the NEA board meeting on October 3, after she was forced to make a last-minute personal appearance.