Teacher Unions Dump $1.4 Million into March 2012 IL Primary

The fight to maintain $100,000 salaries and multi-million dollar pensions is expensive and no one knows this better than the teachers.  When you have the highest teacher salaries and pensions in the country and you are taking in more than $135 million in dues each year, spending $1.4 million in a low turnout Spring primary is no big deal especially if there are big issues coming up in the legislature in the near future.  Issues such as pension reform, local school pension contributions and higher health insurance contributions for retired teachers.  Mitigating or eliminating such terrifying propositions is well worth a “measly” $1.4 million.


I decided to look into this issue after reading an article in Crain’s Chicago Business by journalist Greg Hinz.  Hinz is usually pretty good at getting his facts straight but as usual when dealing with the teacher unions, things are not what they seem.  His article dealt with political contributions for the recent March 20th Primary and he wrote (referencing  Illinois Campaign for Political Reform) that late money included the Il. Education Association at $201,500 and the Chicago Teachers Union at $110,000. That seemed low to me.  So I went to the Illinois State Board of Elections’ web site  and looked up all the political contributions since Jan. 1, 2012. After a little work I came up with $1,475,749 contributed from 27 different education organizations in a brief 10-week period or about $20,000 per day.


Where did the money go?

The money, as usual, went mainly to Democrats but there are 6 Republicans on the list including the top two, Randy Ramey and conservative Charlie Meier, and the infamous Roger Eddy who left his jobs as school superintendent and politician to become the $200,000/yr. head of the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB).  And, yes Eddy will be eligible for a big pension based upon his new $200,000/yr. job because IASB employees are part of the Teacher Retirement System.  No, they don’t work for the state but they get state pensions and if Eddy uses what is called ‘reciprocal pension” he will be eligible for a $170,000/yr. pension at age 55 based upon his legislative pension which is 85% of the final year’s salary ($200,000) after a mere 20 years of service.  He does this by transferring his TRS service to GARS (General Assembly Retirement System). Presto – an automatic $8 million dollar pension payout if he takes it at age 55 and lives his expected lifetime.


Ramey was defeated in spite of the teacher union largesse; Meier won and Eddy decided at the last minute not to run.  Maybe he gave the $35,000 back to the union.


Of the $1.4 million contributed, about $800,000 went directly to candidates and the balance to various teacher political action committees to do with what they wish.


Here’s the list of all those who received more than $10,000 from the teachers between January 1 and March 20, 2012. 

Teacher Union Contributions Jan 1 to March 20, 2012    
Party  Amount Candidate        
Rep         49,000 Citizens to Elect Randy Ramey Total    
Rep         48,000 Citizens for Charlie Meier Total    
Dem         40,660 Friends of Kenny Johnson Total    
Dem         35,000 Friends of Sue Scherer Total    
Rep         35,000 People for Eddy Total      
Dem         30,000 Friends of Elgie Sims Total    
Dem         30,000 Gary Forby Campaign Fund Total    
Dem         27,500 Citizens for Al Riley Total    
Dem         27,500 Friends of Annazette R Collins Total    
Rep         26,500 Citizens for Kirk Dillard (for Senate) Total  
Dem         25,000 Citizens for Tim Elenz Total    
Dem         25,000 Friends of Mike Jacobs Total    
Dem         22,500 Friends for Monique Davis Total    
Dem         22,500 The People for Emanuel “Chris” Welch Total  
Dem         21,000 Citizens for Carole Cheney Total    
Dem         20,000 Dan Kotowski for State Senate Total    
Dem         18,500 Friends of Camille Y Lilly Total    
Rep         15,000 Friends of Adam Brown Total    
Rep         15,000 Friends of Saviano Total      
Dem         15,000 United for Rudy Lozano Jr Total    
Dem         14,000 Joy Cunningham for Justice Total    
Dem         14,000 Miller for Senate Total      
Dem         13,000 Citizens for Cassidy Total    
Dem 12,500 Committee to Re-Elect Chuck Jefferson Total  
Dem         12,500 Friends for Verschoore Total    
Dem         11,500 Citizens to Elect Andre Thapedi Total    
Dem         11,000 Friends of Dave Koehler Total    
Dem         11,000 Friends of Ken Dunkin Total    
Dem         10,000 Friends of Andy Manar Total    
Dem         10,000 Friends of Clayborne Total    
Dem         10,000 Friends of Michael J Madigan Total    
Dem         10,000 Friends of Robert Martwick Total    



Where do the teacher unions get $135 million to spend?

From teacher union dues- where else?  Since there are 130,000 full-time teachers that’s about $1,000/yr. in dues per teacher on average.


The teacher unions have a very good system of hiding contributions by spreading them out over many different organizations, each with a different EIN (Employer Identification Number) used to report revenue and disbursements on IRS form 990 for non-profit organizations.  I have found 50 (see below) that have annual revenue (union dues) in excess of $100,000/yr. adding up to total annual revenue of $134,970,812.  And that does not include dozens more that have revenue of less than $100,000.


Total Teacher Union Revenue 2010  
SOURCE: IRS Form 990    
Union Location Amount
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Springfield, IL 62704       49,015,785
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Chicago, IL 60654       30,088,035
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Westmont, IL 60559       21,364,476
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Crest Hill, IL 60403          5,486,268
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Gurnee, IL 60031 3,955,667
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Westmont, IL 60559          2,931,422
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Chicago, IL 60654          2,686,653
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Chicago, IL 60603          2,313,890
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Orland Park, IL 60462          1,499,322
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Rockford, IL 61108          1,461,485
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Plainfield, IL 60586          1,101,361
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Skokie, IL 60077          1,083,433
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Naperville, IL 60563             862,072
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Springfield, IL 62704             823,476
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Schaumburg, IL 60173             774,113
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Champaign, IL 61820             725,789
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Peoria, IL 61603             668,269
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Saint Charles, IL 60175             666,549
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Oak Brook, IL 60523             455,198
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Westmont, IL 60559             424,453
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Belvidere, IL 61008             416,862
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Woodstock, IL 60098             414,193
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Chicago, IL 60607             401,844
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) MacHesney Park, IL             388,075
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Evanston, IL 60202             381,243
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) E Saint Louis, IL 62204             363,936
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. South Holland, IL 60473             327,628
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Moline, IL 61265             306,057
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Dekalb, IL 60115             296,778
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Kankakee, IL 60901             274,494
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Chicago, IL 60604             273,607
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Collinsville, IL 62234             236,137
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Belleville, IL 62223             205,126
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Springfield, IL 62705             195,607
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Elgin, IL 60123             189,638
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Troy, IL 62294             154,633
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Peoria, IL 61603             147,167
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Burbank, IL 60459             145,706
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Moline, IL 61265             141,482
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Westmont, IL 60559             140,229
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Springfield, IL 62704             138,839
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Chicago, IL 60643             133,557
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Calumet City, IL 60409             133,422
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. South Elgin, IL 60177             126,181
ILLINOIS EDUCATION ASSOC. Silvis, IL 61282             116,787
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Westmont, IL 60559             113,477
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Evergreen Pk, IL 60805             108,869
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Belleville, IL 62221             106,038
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Grayslake, IL 60030             104,317
IL Federation of Teachers (AFT) Millstadt, IL 62260             101,167

Annual Total