“Education Reform’s” Corporate Advocates spent $2.2 Million and counting in support of Malloy’s bill

Over the first 120 days of the 2012 Legislative Session, corporate lobby groups spent over $2.2 million (and counting) in their effort to pass Governor Malloy’s “education reform” bill.  These numbers reveal that corporate reformers outspent those supporting district schools by at least two to one.

Under Connecticut law, corporations and organizations must report how much money they spent on lobbying, although they don’t need to reveal where they got their advocacy funds.  Unions, on the other hand, may only use funds provided by their union members.

The reports (or lack thereof) also reveal that some of the groups involved in the lobbying effort on behalf of Malloy’s “reform” bill failed to register to lobby and failed to report their activities as required by Connecticut law.  Individuals and groups involved in lobbying who fail to register can be fined up to $10,000 per violation.

An assumption can be made that investigations into these illegal lobbying activities have or might begin in the near future.

Michelle Rhee’s national organization, StudentsFirst (called, as we now know GNEPSA in Connecticut) led the way spending nearly $700,000 to back Malloy’s bill.  ConnCAN, the charter group advocacy firm set up by Achievement First, the charter school management company spent a half a million dollars.  The newly formed Connecticut Council for Education Reform added over $100,000 to the effort.

CBIA, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, also spent close to half a million dollars on television ads supporting Malloy and his “education reform” proposal.

As to those annoying and misleading phone calls people got, you have Patrick Riccards and ConnCAN to thank.  They sank over $107,000 into a contract with a Chicago firm for calls to Connecticut voters urging them to contact their legislators in support of Malloy’s bill.

Some of the lobbying violations appear significant enough that I’m sure we’ll hear more about it.

Lobbying Expenses January – April 2012 Notes
GNEPSA(aka StudentsFirst) $669,589 Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization in “disguise”
ConnCAN $499,9009 Patrick Riccards
Connecticut Council for Education Reform 109,195 Rae Ann “poverty is not an issue” Knopf
Students for Education Reform $15,159 Buses and food for the 60 student rally at the State Capitol
Connecticut Association of Board of Education (CABE) $6,132 Robert Rader
CT Association of Public School Superintendents $20,997 Joseph Cirasuolo
Achievement First $55,482 Charter School Management Company formed by Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s and others
Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) $798,995* *$487,224 was for education reform television ads.  A major chunk of the remainder was to lobby other business issues.
CT Association of Schools $10,000
CT Parents Union $0 Despite sponsoring the rally that Michelle Rhee attended, CT Parents Union claimed no expenditures for lobbying
Excel Bridgeport DID NOT REGISTER Excel Bridgeport engaged in a variety of efforts to promote the state takeover of Bridgeport and persuade others to communicate with legislators about Malloy’s education reform” bill but they did not register to lobby.
Teach for America – CT Chapter DID NOT REGISTER Teach for America -CT Chapter – Engaged in a variety of efforts to communicate with  State Department of Education Officials but did not register