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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

NEA Advocacy Fund

playersguide2014_135pxPolitical leanings: Liberal

Spending target: Unknown

The NEA Advocacy Fund is the super PAC of the National Education Association, the “nation’s largest professional employee organization.” The NEA describes itself as an “advocate for education professionals.”

The NEA created its super PAC in late 2010, and it has been active ever since in congressional and gubernatorial races. From the beginning, the NEA Advocacy Fund spent its money exclusively against Republican candidates and in support of Democrats.

The NEA Advocacy Fund spent $4.2 million in the 2010 election cycle in independent expenditures. All of it to defeat Republican Senate candidates. The super PAC focused on the Colorado and Washington races, spending nearly $1.9 million against Ken Buck in Colorado and $1.4 million against Dino Rossi in Washington. Both lost. The super PAC spent the $900,000 in losing causes against Pat Toomey and Rand Paul, both of whom won their races.

In the 2012 cycle, NEA Advocacy Fund nearly doubled its spending to $9.1 million, but only $1 million in independent expenditures. Half of that money was spent against a Republican House candidate, Richard Tisei of Massachusetts, who narrowly lost to Democratic Rep. John Tierney.

Gearing up for the 2014 election cycle, the NEA parent organization gave its super PAC $5.3 million in a few installments last year. As of mid-September, the Advocacy Fund had spent $3 million of that, all against Republicans in senatorial races, currently making it the ninth highest-spending super PAC in the cycle. Most of this money has been spent on the North Carolina, Arkansas, and Alaska Senate races — all considered “toss-ups” by RealClearPolitics. Of these races, the super PAC focused most of its attention (to the tune of $1.7 million) in North Carolina in the hope of preventing Republican Thom Tillis from taking Sen. Kay Hagan’s seat.

Fact-checking NEA Advocacy Fund

Tillis: An Education Budget Backer or Hacker?” Sept. 11, 2014