August 8, 2013
The city teachers union spent more than half a million dollars in less than a month on the campaign trail to support Bill Thompson’s mayoral candidacy, new filings show.
The money has paid for more than a dozen mass communication and canvassing campaigns, including several mailings, robo calls, and a radio spot.
The United Federation of Teachers is required to disclose certain details about how it’s spending money on the local elections, according to campaign finance laws that were enacted last year. The union’s political activities are being managed through a new political committee called United For The Future, which was filed on July 12.
The rules also require organizations to disclose the source of their funding and, according to the UFT’s filing, the union appears to have received funding from itself. A political action committee called Educators United, which is registered to 52 Broadway, the same address where the UFT is headquartered, contributed $1 million on Aug. 1.
The UFT endorsed Thompson in June and has vowed to spend millions to back him in a crowded Democratic primary and general elections. It’s the first open mayoral election since school governance was given to the mayor’s office and education has been a major issue throughout the campaign.
Several more interest groups are expected to make independent expenditures in the elections. So far, the UFT is one of four independent spenders to filed a spending report and the only education interest group. More are expected in the next several weeks, including Campbell Brown’s Parent Transparency Project, which has spent $100,000 to pay for attack ads against candidates who have not supported legislation to make it easier to fire teachers for sexual misconduct.
All independent spenders have until Aug 9 at midnight to file with the city’s Campaign Finance Board.
Details of the UFT’s communications for Thompson are now posted to the campaign finance board’s web site. It is using Red Horse Strategies to design and target the campaigns, which range from robo calls that cost less than $6,000 and a palm card that cost more than $100,000 to send out.
Many of the ads and mailings have highlighted Thompson’s personal background, which includes a childhood in Bedford-Stuyvesant and being raised by a teacher. Several mailings also note his education credentials as a former president on the old Board of Education.
Radio spot ($92,000):
Latino Robo Call
African American Robo Call