PAC Panic?

The National Education Association is a political heavy hitter in every state in the Union, but its federal political action committee is underpowered. Though NEA is the largest union in the United States, its PAC was only the 8th largest donor to Democratic candidates during the 2016 election cycle.

The lion’s share of its PAC funds comes from the delegates to the union’s representative assembly, where each of the roughly 7,000 delegates is expected to come up with $185 in contributions. Still, NEA seems worried this year about its war chest. It sent out a fundraising report to each of its state affiliates depicting its contributions for the last 10 years. Here is the one for California:

“Fundraising for the NEA Fund has been on a steady decline,” it says. That does appear to be the case since 2010, according to this graph from OpenSecrets.org.

Because federal PAC donations are voluntary, NEA will struggle to raise those funds. But independent expenditures of all types, which are funded with dues money, will continue to be the backbone of the union’s political power.

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