|AKPD's John Kupper|
Thanks to reporters Jeff Coen and Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah for their excellent piece in Today's Trib, "Emanuel allies press attack in teachers union battle." It confirms everything I wrote Monday about David Axelrod's old firm AKPD being the architect of the lying anti-union ad campaign now being played on local radio in Chicago.
According to the Trib report, the big money behind the attacks on Chicago teachers and their union is the group Democrats For Education Reform (DFER), run by NewYork hedge-funders Whitney Tilson and Ravenel Boykin Curry IV. The group continues to be a big player in the Obama election campaign and is the main force for school privatization, vouchers and privately-run charter schools, within the Democratic Party. They are also major supporters of Rahm's longer-school-day-with-no-pay-for-teachers initiative
More importantly, the Trib report shows that despite denials and evasions, the mayor has knowingly and unabashedly supported the anti-union campaign which is being run by his own political operatives like AKPD's John Kupper. Kupper admits his firm is on retainer with Emanuel's political organization, and state records show The Chicago Committee, one of Emanuel's campaign fundraising organizations, paid Axelrod's old firm more than $21,000 in the first quarter of 2012 for "professional services/consulting."
As for DFER:
Officials at Democrats for Education Reform said the group's Illinois state director, Rebeca Nieves Huffman, also has not talked to Emanuel about the ads and "doesn't coordinate with him." In May the mayor was photographed with Huffman at a school reform summit in California, but Huffman spokeswoman Megan Jacobs characterized that as a chance encounter.The two Trib reporters also shine a light on Emanuel political operative Greg Goldner (behind Rahm's use of paid protesters) and billionaire backers Penny Pritzker and Bruce Rauner.
Emanuel's emphasis on schools fits with the long-held agenda of a number of his wealthiest political supporters. They include Penny Pritzker, now a member of the Board of Education, and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, whose wife, Diana, an early education expert, served on Emanuel's transition team.Good going Jeff and Noreen.
Rauner was instrumental in bringing the reform group Stand for Children to Illinois. That organization helped pass the law setting a higher bar for a teachers' strike and also has criticized the teachers union for taking the strike authorization vote.