The House Oversight Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic invited American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten to testify about AFT’s role in keeping schools closed during the pandemic.
Throughout the hearing, several Democratic Party lawmakers on the committee defended Weingarten. It is likely because these allies had a financial interest.
Six of the seven Democratic Party lawmakers received campaign contributions from AFT, and yet not a single lawmaker publicly acknowledged their financial ties to the union. Zero Republican committee members received AFT funding.
According to Open Secrets, a campaign contribution transparency website, AFT’s political action committee (PAC) donated to each of the following committee members between 2021-2022:
- Rep. Raul Ruiz (California): $10,000
- Rep. Kweisi Mfume (Maryland): $10,000
- Rep. Deborah Ross (North Carolina): $10,000
- Rep. Debbie Dingell (Michigan): $7,500
- Rep. Robert Garcia (California): $5,000
- Rep. Ami Bera (California): $5,000
In total, these lawmakers received $47,500 from AFT through PACs.
AFT was not the only teachers union to donate to committee members. The National Education Association donated to 6 of the 7 Democrat lawmakers on the committee, who were Reps. Ruiz ($10,000), Mfume ($10,000), Ross ($4,000), Dingell ($4,000), Bera ($4,000), and Hawaiian Rep. Jill Tokuda ($6,000) for a total of $38,000.