This one is just bizarre.
I spent most of yesterday going through the National Education Association 2017 financial disclosure report to the U.S. Department of Labor. (If you want a comprehensive look at those numbers, you can’t do better than RiShawn Biddle’s November 30 piece at Dropout Nation.)
As I was churning through 354 pages of itemized expenditures, one entry caught my eye.
Before I go on, let me explain what the “RA Giveaway” is. Each year at the NEA Representative Assembly, the delegates spend a lot of time soliciting donations for the union’s federal PAC. They generate many incentives to contribute, but the biggest is the PAC giveaway. At the end of each of the four days of the convention, a name is drawn and that person wins a cash prize. The first day’s winner gets $5,000, the second day $7,500, the third day $10,000 and the final day $15,000. They get their picture taken with a giant check.
We can deduce that since Robert B. Bulk of Atchison, Kansas, won $10,000, he was the third-day winner at the 2016 NEA Representative Assembly in Washington DC. That was July 6.
At the time, Bulk was the president of the Atchison Education Association and a member of the Kansas NEA board of directors. The NEA leadership was at least minimally aware of him.
There is no photo of Bulk receiving his giant check, but you don’t have to be physically present at the time of the announcement to win. We do know that his good fortune was short-lived.
The very next day “officers executed a search warrant July 7 at Bulk’s residence where they seized computer equipment, some pornographic DVDs, CD-R CDs and other items belonging to Bulk. It was also there, during execution of the search warrant, when police discovered marijuana inside a container that was in a bedroom closet.”
Police arrested Bulk on July 8 on felony charges of electronic solicitation involving a child under the age of consent and sexual exploitation of a child.
On August 1 the Atchison school board suspended Bulk with pay.
On December 7 Bulk plead guilty to the two felonies.
On December 9 he resigned from his teaching job.
On January 9 he was sentenced to 68 months in prison.
NEA reported the payments to the three other PAC giveaway winners on last year’s disclosure, using the dates of the drawings in July. Only the payment of Bulk’s winnings was delayed until September. This may be because Bulk was not present at the drawing and/or the subsequent transfer of his winnings was problematic due to the police investigation.
There is no moral to this story – unless you want to note that Bulk never lost a day of pay and was allowed to resign. It’s just a weird turn of events.