Teachers' union spends big bucks to defeat Buck

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 Updated:

A reader in Denver alerted us to an ad that went up yesterday in Colorado by the NEA Advocacy Fund, blasting Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck for his views on education funding.

An arm of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, the NEA Advocacy Fund filed a Form 1 Statement of Organization on Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission. By doing so, under the FEC’s new post-SpeechNow.org rules, it can raise and spend unlimited sums of money, so long as it does not contribute directly to or coordinate its activities with any political candidates or party committees. However, because it is registered as a political committee with the commission, NEA Advocacy will have to disclose its large donors — unlike most of the independent groups You Report: Election 2010 has been tracking.

The 30-second ad claims that Buck, who is challenging freshman Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, wants to cut $1.1 billion from education, reduce the number of teachers, reduce federal student loans, and increase class size. It dubs Buck’s proposals a “disastrous plan for our schools.” The fine print attributes this number to Buck’s opposition to the 2009 economic stimulus law that provided billions in federal public education funding. The ad ends with a chalkboard image and the text “Ken Buck’s Plan For Our Schools Doesn’t Add Up.” The NEA Action Fund reported to the FEC that it spent $1.35 million on the ad.

Owen Loftus, press secretary for Buck’s campaign, told the Center that while Buck did indeed oppose the stimulus bill, he does not favor getting rid of student loans or increasing class size. He called the ad “disingenuous” and said Buck supports “real reform” of education. “There is a problem with the system that these groups can outright lie about a candidate and no one is held responsible for that,” added Loftus.

A spokesman for the NEA Advocacy Fund defended the veracity of the ad and promised to forward a fact-sheet, which he did not do by press time.

Ad Title: “Ken Buck’s Math”

Paid for By: NEA Advocacy Fund

Cost: $1,350,000

Disclaimer: Paid for by the NEA Advocacy Fund, www.nea.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. NEA Advocacy Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising.

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