Super Donor Profiles

Published — April 26, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Donor profile: National Education Association

Quick stats on the biggest financial backers of Election 2012


Ranking: 8

Total contributions to super PACs: $10.8 million*

  • $9.3 million to NEA Advocacy Fund (pro-NEA)
  • $861,000 to Rethink PAC (pro-Elizabeth Warren)
  • $420,000 to Protect Our Schools Fund (pro-John Tierney)
  • $200,000 to American Bridge 21st Century (pro-Democratic)
  • $25,000 to America Votes Action Fund (pro-Democratic)
  • $5,000 to The American Worker (pro-Democratic)
  • $5,000 to Patriot Majority (pro-Democratic)
  • $5,000 to Young Democrats of America (pro-Democratic)

Federal hard money and 527 contributions:

Total spent on federal lobbying (2007-2012): $30 million

Lobbying issues: Education, budget appropriations, taxes, labor issues.


The nation’s largest union, claiming 3 million public educators, endorsed President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in July 2012. It ramped up its spending since.

In March 2012, the teachers union gave $3 million to its super PAC, the NEA Advocacy Fund. (It’s given an additional $6.3 million since then.)

Also in early 2012, the super PAC gave $500,000 to the We Are Wisconsin Political Fund, a group supporting “progressive public policies important to working families all across Wisconsin.” The group was part of the coalition that failed to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the state’s June 5 special election.

The NEA’s super PAC also gave $80,000 to North Carolina-based group Common Sense Matters, which spent money last year opposing two Republican candidates for the Wake County school board.

NEA gave $200,000 to the pro-Democratic American Bridge 21st Century super PAC, which has received large donations from other labor unions including $575,000 from its top union donor, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The NEA spent a sizeable amount ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, when it targeted Republican congressional candidates for their proposed attacks on education funding. During the 2012 election cycle, the NEA spent more than $6.6 million on political efforts, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

One endeavor, called “Education Votes,” involved a mock horror film trailer released online and sought to defeat seven “uber-powerful” corporate tax loopholes that are “shortchanging our children” and “devouring workers.”

Last updated: Jan. 30, 2013

*2011-2012 election cycle. Source: Center for Responsive Politics and Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records. Totals include contributions from individuals, family members and corporations that are controlled by the individual super donor.

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