The largest teachers union in Illinois and its affiliates have spent almost $3.2 million on the upcoming mayoral election, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.
From January 2022 to March 6, 2023, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has spent more than $1 million campaigning for Democratic Chicago Mayor candidate Brandon Johnson, a former public school teacher and CTU organizer, who was opposing Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the parent affiliates of CTU, have donated $.17 million and $440,000, respectively, to the Johnson campaign.
“Throughout the campaign, hundreds of CTU members fanned out across the city talking with voters about Brandon and his comprehensive plan to invest in our communities,” CTU wrote in a press release after Johnson advanced to an April runoff contest. “By the end of this weekend, the CTU had organized hundreds of volunteers to make more than 45,000 phone calls, send more than 60,000 texts and knock on some 10,000 doors in the run-up to Tuesday’s election. This program was critical to Johnson’s success and organizers are already working on expanding and building on it to push him to victory in April.”
Unions fund 94% of Johnson’s campaign, which has raised nearly $4.8 million, with almost $3.2 coming from teachers unions and about $1.4 million from other unions, the Illinois Policy Institute reported. While serving as Cook County Board Commissioner, Johnson has remained on CTU payroll as a “legislative coordinator” for the last five years, earning more than $390,0oo.
A Statement from @CTULocal1:
Thanks to an unprecedented, historic multi-generational, multi-ethnic working-class coalition demanding transformative change in Chicago, Brandon Johnson will advance to the April 4th.
Read our statement here! https://t.co/lwfjwEGXW3
— Chicago Teachers Union (@CTULocal1) March 1, 2023
Members pushed back against the spending on the Johnson campaign, alleging that CTU failed to get permission from its delegates before borrowing $415,000 of union funds to give to its political action committee, which donates to campaigns, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“They didn’t ask the (union) House of Delegates. They didn’t present financial statements showing how we’d be paid back,” Therese Boyle, a former Chicago Public Schools teacher, told the outlet. “It feels like they’re putting all of their eggs in this basket, and not thinking about the other important things for our union, like establishing a strike fund.”
Johnson, CTU, AFT and the Illinois Federation of Teachers did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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