American Federation of Teachers reported $24.9 million in political and lobbying expenditures during its most recent fiscal year, but even that figure understates the union’s actual spending on politics.
While AFT, like other large unions, reports “Political Activities and Lobbying” to the U.S. Department of Labor each year, payments to left-wing groups are often filed as “Contributions, Gifts and Grants” or “Representational Activities” instead of political expenditures.
Considering that most of AFT’s members are public-sector workers, essentially all AFT activities are political. Even with politics narrowly defined as lobbying, campaign contributions and other payments to expressly political groups, AFT spends more on politics than teachers may expect.
Based on Political Activities and Lobbying spending plus payments to political organizations listed elsewhere in the union’s annual report, AFT poured more than $27 million in member dues into political activism during the 2014 fiscal year ending June 30.
Additionally, compensation for AFT bosses who travel the country demanding bigger government is frequently treated as general overhead. Only 2 percent of the $557,875 AFT paid President Randi Weingarten was reported as Political Activities and Lobbying in 2014.