Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The money behind the charter cap lift (Question 2)

I've been sharing these like mad on social media (Twitter and Facebook) BUT I want to be sure that no one in Massachusetts is missing these: Professor Maurice Cunningham of the Mass Political Profs blog has been tracing the money behind the push to lift the charter cap in Massachusetts, which is on our November ballot as question 2.
He started back in mid-July with a close look at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance  of those involved. In sum? "The pro-charters operation is the tool of hedge fund and big finance players."
He then followed up last week with a post specifically on Strategic Grant Partners, demonstrating that the well-publicized $18 million being spent on this effort wasn't the whole story:
First, the privatizers had been raising and spending money toward their goal in ways that did not have to be legally counted. Second, the organizations funding the political battle did not have to report to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance or Secretary of State. Third, the campaign to privatize public schools has not been confined to campaign year 2016 but extends back several years. The key to understanding the deployment of this hidden money is by examining the activities of an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) organization known as Strategic Grant Partners (“SGP”).
Today, Professor Cunningham is back with a post looking at who is funding the TV ad that urges a "Yes" vote on Question 2.
The Brennan Center for Justice recently reported about opaque entities like those we’ve met here that “There is no requirement that the names of these entities reflect their actual purpose or interests, and many use generic or even misleading names that obscure the nature of their funding.” Also, Brennan reports, the politically savvy operatives backing these organizations use positive sounding local names in recognition that if the true source of the funding was known, voters would consider that information and be less likely to respond positively to the ads.
Jennifer Berkshire then followed this up with a Q&A with Professor Cunningham here.
I urge you not only to read these yourself but also to SHARE THEM. There will be much rhetoric about "teachers unions" this fall: check out who wants to lift the cap on charters. It isn't anyone who has an interest in kids.
Or transparency.
Or democracy.

No comments: