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October 14, 2016

Boston’s CBS outlet ran an interesting piece yesterday reported by Steve LeBlanc of Associated Press, More Than $18 Million Spent on Charter School Question TV Ads. It seems we’ve been misunderestimating Dark Money Great Schools Massachusetts of New York. Mr. LeBlanc reports that the group, a front for Dark Money Families for Excellent Schools of New York, has already spent close to $12 million dollars on television advertising, higher than previously reported. But here’s the money line, about half way into the article: “About half of the money raised to support the charter school question comes from the New York-based Families for Excellent Schools. It’s unclear from campaign finance reports where the group’s funding comes from.”

Mr. LeBlanc, you buried the lede!

The source of the funding is not only unclear, it is totally inaccessible by design. You, the citizen, the voter, in our current political system, have no right, so don’t get cheeky, don’t even ask for permission, to know who is pumping bottomless millions into the Yes on 2 campaign. Don’t ask, because they won’t tell you. If there is any reason why you the voter, the citizen, should not know this information in considering your vote, I have not heard it. But don’t get started with them, they are not going to tell you.

Mr. Leblanc’s article is important in that the last reporting date for ballot committees was October 5, at which time Dark Money Great Schools Massachusetts of New York had reported collecting just under $12 million, of which $8,575,000.00 was from Dark Money Families for Excellent Schools of New York and the total of dark money was $9,725,000.00. Mr. LeBlanc’s reporting shows that the money total has climbed. You, the voter, the citizen, are barred from knowing who the true givers are, but we can make some reasonable inferences that the money is coming from a handful of hedge fund managers.

(These groups don’t really start their names with “Dark Money” and end them “of New York,” I just edit them for accuracy.)

Our democracy is being hijacked by a plutocracy and a secret plutocracy at that. Where’s the outrage?

Louis D. Brandeis: "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

[Full disclosure: as an educator in the UMass system, I am a union member. I write about dark money, and not charter schools. I've never written about charter schools, nor taken a position on them. I have taken a position against plutocracy and in favor of democracy, and thus against dark money.]

Question 2, dark money, Families for Excellent Schools, Great Schools Massachusetts

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