Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Before contract, teachers gave to de Blasio charity

Perhaps the term should simply be crony government, rather than crony capitalism.

July 15, 2014 by CHRIS BRAGG

Less than a month before Mayor Bill de Blasio struck a major contract agreement with the United Federation of Teachers, its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers, gave $350,000 to a nonprofit run by de Blasio advisers, which lobbies on behalf of the mayor’s priorities, newly released records show.

The AFT’s donation, on April 9, was the largest donation to the de Blasio-affiliated nonprofit, Campaign For One New York, since it was founded after the mayor was elected last November. Its timing raises questions about the ability of outside interests to advance their agendas before the city by supporting a nonprofit close to the mayor.

The group was formed to advance the mayor’s signature social reform: universal prekindergarten. Itwas founded by Mr. de Blasio’s campaign manager, and the pre-K campaign was run by consulting firms that worked on the mayor’s political campaign. The AFT donation came after the state Legislature approved funding for pre-K in late March. The nonprofit is now transitioning to other areas of importance to the mayor, including signing up children for pre-K.

Less than a month after the $350,000 donation, the teachers union and the city struck a nine-year deal that included raises and retroactive pay for teachers while also promising future health care savings for the city.

A governmental spokesman for Mr. de Blasio said the AFT’s hefty donation had no impact on the contract between the mayor and the city teachers’ union.

“In a word: zero,” the spokesman said. “This was a historic contract praised across the board by bond rating agencies as a fiscally responsible agreement that eliminated one of the biggest fiscal uncertainties out there. The factors that guided us to an outcome were doing right by taxpayers and by our students—and we succeeded on both counts.”

Ratings agency Moody’s did say the contract “could eliminate” fiscal uncertainty, but also said its cost to the city was “large” and might increase future budget deficits, and that the health care savings might not come to pass. Out-year deficits were later revised upward by $5 billion over three years, which Moody’s and Barclays frowned upon. UFT members will receive raises of 1%, 1%, 1%, 1.5%, 2.5%, and 3% over six years.

AFT President Randi Weingarten, a former UFT president, said of the donation, “The AFT has always been out there for early childhood education. This contribution was fulfilling a longstanding commitment, as universal pre-K is a central goal of our initiative to reclaim the promise. I’m honored to have been part of it.”

A spokesman for the de Blasio nonprofit declined to comment. A UFT spokesman did not immediately comment.

In January, NY Progress PAC, another political action committee to which the teachers union has donated in the past, also gave $175,000 to the mayor’s nonprofit. NY Progress also supported Mr. de Blasio’s 2013 general-election campaign.

The donations to the nonprofit linked to the mayor have not yet been made publicly available by the state ethics commission, JCOPE. A list of donors was provided to Crain’s by the nonprofit’s public-relations adviser, BerlinRosen, which was a consultant to Mr. de Blasio’s mayoral campaign.

The deadline to disclose lobbying expenditures and fundraising was Tuesday.

read full article: Before contract, teachers gave to de Blasio charity

corruption, cronyism, Democrats, education, ethics, funding, government, greed, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oversight, politics, regulation, scandal, spending

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Filed under: corruption, cronyism, Democrats, education, ethics, funding, government, greed, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oversight, politics, regulation, scandal, spending

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