Pelosi's PACs flooded with over $1M in cash from teachers' unions as debate raged over school reopenings

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Political action committees associated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., received a flood of donations from teachers’ unions as they fought to keep schools closed while a growing number of parents pushed to get their children back into classrooms.

Pelosi’s House Majority PAC, which showers Democratic House candidates with campaign cash, received $1 million from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) PAC, while her leadership committee, PAC to the Future, was given $5,000 from AFT’s PAC during the first three months of the year.

The AFT is one of the largest teachers’ unions in America and until recently had resisted reopening schools. The seven-figure contribution to the House Majority PAC, which will ultimately benefit dozens of Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections, was by far the largest from the group during the first quarter.

The AFT cash flowed to Pelosi as teachers’ unions poured large sums into a number of committees linked to Democrats as they clashed with Republicans over school reopenings across the country.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on March 19, 2021. 
(Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP)

Roll Call reports that during the first three months of the year, contributions from teachers’ unions to Democrats had drastically spiked compared to the same time in the 2020 campaign cycle. AFT pushed a total of $1.6 million into Democrats’ coffers between Jan. 1 and March 31 after giving just $45,000 during the same time period in the last election cycle.

The AFT was not the only teachers’ union to increase their political giving as the debates over school reopenings reached fever pitch. The National Education Association’s PAC dished out $371,000 during the first three months of the year, 38% more than the $269,000 it had given during the same time in the 2020 cycle.

Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, had opposed school reopening plans until reversing course two weeks ago, after receiving a letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Weingarten, however, stated that she still had “some real concerns about ventilation,” an identical concern echoed by Pelosi in a previous press release.

Republicans, who have long accused Democrats of being too close to teachers’ unions, are looking to make an issue out of Democratic opposition to school reopenings in their campaign for the midterm elections. The issue could help Republicans among suburban voters.


Earlier this year, the Biden administration and other Democrats talked down a CDC report that acknowledged schools are low-transmission zones of COVID-19 and backed teachers’ unions, despite evidence showing that students were falling behind academically and children were suffering from emotional trauma due to isolation, The Hill reported.

The House Majority PAC did not provide a comment on the contributions. PAC to the Future could not be reached for comment.

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