What was billed as a grassroots movement by a group of moms to oust three conservative members of the Jefferson County Board of Education has direct ties to the nation’s largest teachers union.
Complete Colorado has learned that Jeffco United received nearly two-thirds of its roughly $250,000 war chest from the National Education Association (NEA).
An LM-2 is a filing required by the Department of Labor under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act for labor organizations with $250,000 or more in total annual receipts.
Since its inception, Jeffco United organizers have said the union was not involved in its recall effort of Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk. They have argued repeatedly that it was a grassroots effort on the part of three moms.
The donation was just one notation in the massive report for NEA’s fiscal year, which runs from Sept 1 to Aug 31 of each year. The donation went out just days before the end of that period.
The NEA is the mothership for many state and local unions, with 2,952,972 members. The union reported nearly $389 million in receipts and total assets of $363 million at the end of the 2014-15 reporting period. The organization spent nearly $41 million on political activities during that same period.
JCEA also donated $15,000 to Jeffco United through its small donor committee.
Lynea Hansen, Jeffco United’s spokeswoman who has her own ties to the union as the Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA) spokeswoman, had not returned requests for comment from Complete Colorado at press time.
Sheila Atwell from Jeffco Students First was not surprised by the development.
“We’ve known since 2014 the national union was involved,” Atwell said. “It’s unfortunate that the Jeffco voters were unaware of it until now.”
Ross Izard contributed to this report.