Campbell Brown’s anti-teacher tenure group raises $3 million
Campbell Brown's anti-teacher tenure education group has raised $3 million this year and spent $300,000 for consulting services from an Obama administration-connected firm, according to filings with the Internal Revenue Service.
The Washington, D.C.-based Incite Agency, headed by former administration officials Robert Gibbs and Ben LaBolt, has worked for the Partnership for Educational Justice (P.E.J.) since the spring, along with the national public relations firm Mercury.
In the filings, P.E.J. said the $3 million in fundraising revenue and grants were raised during this tax year, which runs from December 2013 to November 2014.
The group officially incorporated in March and changed its name from All Kids Matter to the Partnership for Educational Justice in February.
P.E.J. is the group behind New York's push to invalidate the state's teacher tenure protections, and filed a lawsuit on behalf of parent plaintiffs earlier this year.
The group has also spent $1.7 million on various expenses, including employee salaries, $2,000 in fundraising expenses, as well as administrative expenses and consulting fees. The group's legal fees are being handled pro bono by Kirkland & Ellis.
Brown, a former CNN anchor, has repeatedly declined to reveal her donors, despite pressure from the teachers' union-funded advocacy group Alliance for Quality Education. According to tax filings, the American Federation of Teachers gave the Alliance for Quality Education $50,000 in 2013.
Brown has suggested she is protecting her donors from becoming the "targets" of demonstrators protesting her lawsuit.
P.E.J. is registered as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) group in Delaware.
“The Partnership for Educational Justice together with the pro bono lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis are very proud to provide organizational support for the brave parents who want the most basic thing for their kids—quality teachers in schools around the country," the group's executive director, Reshma Singh, said in a statement.
The group has four directors: Brown, Joe Williams, a prominent journalist-turned-education reform advocate, Daniel Allen, a founding partner at a private equity firm called Corona Investment Partners, and Signh, a former Teach for America staffer. As the group's executive director, Singh is paid $200,000 annually, according to the filings.
In its tax-exempt application. P.E.J. is described as an "organization that will solicit funds to promote, support and sponsor litigation in the public interest to defend children's human and civil rights secured by law."
The group filed its lawsuit challenging the state's teacher tenure laws in July, shortly after another group, the New York City Parents' Union, filed a similar lawsuit.
The Parents' Union has accused Brown of trying to divert resources away from her case. The two cases were officially consolidated last month, and the groups will work together going forward. Formal legal proceedings are unlikely to begin until at least December.
New York's push against teacher tenure is inspired by the Vergara vs. California case this summer, which found teacher tenure laws in California unconstitutional.
All public tax-related and incorporation documents can be found here: http://bit.ly/1qD8XKq