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A Glimpse Into NEA's 'Crisis' Fund

Last year, National Education Association delegates approved a special dues increase for the union's Ballot Initiative/Legislative Crisis fund that supports state affiliates' lobbying and communications vis-a-vis ballot referendums.

It's typically used to counter measures the union eschews, though there's probably nothing stopping the union from supporting measures through the fund, either.

We got the first glimpse today of the activities on which the union has spent its new inflow of cash, which represents $20 per member per year, or about $27 million for 2011-12.

According to a memo to delegates, NEA has so far this year sent $270,000 to four states for ballot initiatives; $7.1 million to 17 state affiliates for legislation; and $2.5 million for national lobbying on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

(I don't have a state-by-state account yet, but I'm working on getting one for you.)

The NEA's board of directors created a $5 million account within the fund called the "Affiliate Defense Fund," which is earmarked to help affiliates fight against "unprecedented attacks," presumably on collective bargaining. It's as good a sign as any that NEA doesn't expect the wave of anti-union measures to stop anytime soon.

That leaves about $19 million in the pot. It's probably safe to assume that the union will spent a lot less on ESEA, given how stalled that measure is on Capitol Hill, and a lot more on other upcoming legislation and initiatives.

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