A Lesson This Labor Day.(EDITORIALS)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 2, 2002 | Go to article overview

A Lesson This Labor Day.(EDITORIALS)


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Tomorrow, children throughout America will be returning to school, and teachers will be looking for a timely civics topic. Here's a suggestion: Why not give the students a real-time civics lesson demonstrating how the National Education Association (NEA) routinely wields its raw political power within the Democratic Party and throughout the political landscape, frequently at odds with legal and regulatory requirements?

Indeed, the NEA offers a textbook example of how Big Labor bosses work hand in glove with Democratic politicians. Intentionally and almost certainly illegally, the NEA bosses and other Big Labor leaders and their Democratic vassals keep the rank-and-file members ignorant of the political use of millions and millions of dollars forcibly extracted from their paychecks in the form of compulsory union dues. In terms of any lessons on democracy that teachers might impart to their students from this anti-Jeffersonian travesty, they might emphasize how members of union households have given an average of 36 percent of their votes to Republican House candidates since 1980.

As the public-interest law firm Landmark Legal Foundation has detailed in complaints filed with the IRS, the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Labor, the NEA has willfully circumvented or blatantly ignored legal restrictions on its political activity. (The evidence is available at www.landmarklegal.org.)

Time and again, the NEA has refused to comply with clearly outlined disclosure requirements. Despite internal NEA documents that minutely detail how the NEA uses general treasury funds to augment the impact of its political action committees, the NEA refuses to report to the IRS the taxable "political expenditures, direct or indirect" from its general treasury. In failing to do so, the NEA also avoids paying legally required taxes on these political expenditures. Thus, it has shamelessly exploited its 501(c)(5) tax-exempt status. Moreover, at least since 1994, the NEA has also failed to disclose to Labor the millions of dollars the union spends on its pervasive political operations.

The Democratic Party is the direct beneficiary of the NEA's dues-financed army of 1,800 political operatives, formally known as UniServ directors. So, Democrats have a keen interest in protecting the status quo.

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