Take StudentsFirst, for example:
ALBANY—A pro-charter school group spent a combined $78,000 on Thursday on radio and TV ads in three competitive State Senate races, according to financial disclosure filed with the state's Board of Elections.
New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, formed by StudentsFirst and run by the New York chapter of the organization, spent $47,000 on a radio ad on behalf of Republican State Senate candidate Tom Croci, who is vying to replace State Senator Lee Zeldin, a Republican who is vacating the seat to run for Congress.
Republicans have repeatedly tried to tie Democratic candidates to de Blasio as a way of alienating voters outside New York City. De Blasio campaigned on a pledge to limit the influence of charters in New York City.
New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, an independent expenditure political action committee created last month and funded largely by pro-charter hedge fund executives, is dedicated to preserving the current majority in the Senate. The upper chamber is controlled by the Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference, who have been largely supportive of charter schools.
Capital reported yesterday that the PAC had spent $107,000 surveying battleground State Senate districts around New York.
New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany spent an additional $31,000 on cable and radio "media productions," in two competitive districts in the Hudson Valley.
Time and time again, we see these education reforms groups - from the Orwellian-named "Democrats for Education Reform" to supposed Democrat Michelle Rhee's group, StudentsFirst - raising money from the wealthiest (and toniest) of Republican donors (i.e., hedge fundies and other Wall Street types), then using that money to promote right-wing policies and right wing candidates, mostly with (R) after their names.
Carl Korn, spokesman for NYSUT (which is putting up some ads for Senate Dems), puts all this in perspective:
"What we see here is a small group of hedge fund billionaires working to privatize public education by siphoning money away from those schools that serve the vast majority of New Yorkers," NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn told Capital. "In terms of our work, we are proud to support those candidates who support public education and oppose the overreliance of standardized testing…We're working aggressively in a number of Senate races, and Assembly races , to elect candidates whose values align with out members".
StudentsFirst is using dark money from unknown sources to push for their right-wing policies and elect right-wing candidates to keep the State Senate Republican.
There's nothing "liberal" about them - they're no different than any other Republican donor group.
Which is fine - I have no problem with Republican donors groups raising cash and putting it into campaigns to elect their own people and push their own causes and issues.
I simply want those Republican donors to openly say "We're a Republican interest group pushing Republican causes and Republican candidates."
Not to much to ask, right?
Apparently with StudentsFirst it is.
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