Dark money funds attacks against public education and teacher unions. A group claiming to be Democrats could front for Republican billionaires.
At first glance, "Democrats for Education Reform" (DFER) may sound like a generic advocacy group, but a closer review of its financial filings and activities shows how it uses local branding to help throw the voice of huge Wall Street players and other corporate interests from out-of-state.
DFER is a PAC, a Political Action Committee, which means it can (and does) play a direct role in state and local elections.
... money given to it does not result in a tax write-off but--if successful in changing laws--that money could get the hedge funders who back it a return on investment through politicians and policies that redirect tax dollars from truly public schools to "education reforms."
The Center for Media and Democracy has calculated that the federal government alone has spent more than $3.7 billion in U.S. tax dollars propping up the charter school industry, in addition to enormous amounts spent by states.
... DFER is backed by billionaires and millionaires representing well over $20 billion, at least, in investor money.
... DFER spent more than $4 million on TV ads in 2010 that attempted to blame New York teachers’ unions for problems caused by the disastrous federal "Race to the Top" program. Among other things, DFER also spent $1 million on ads attacking the Chicago Teachers Union and supporting Rahm Emanuel in 2012.
Because non-profits like ERN/ERNA do not have to disclose their major donors to the public, even when ERNA is active in supporting electoral activities the public is left in the dark about which hedge funder is actually helping to fund state and local ads and mailers during the election.
So, the ERN/ERNA/DFER operation is like a shell game when it comes to the public being able to pierce through the layers of non-profits to find the name of a particular billionaire or uber-rich hedge funder whose money is propping up a particular electoral candidate being backed by DFER.
Similarly, DFER in the states has been known to partner with other groups that have similarly murky or occluded funding sources. [emphasis mine]