May 06, 2018


Thank you for this great honor to the MTA, Officers, and Staff. Thanks especially to President Barbara Madeloni.

During the Civil War one of Abraham Lincoln’s biggest problems was generals who wouldn’t fight. He finally found a general who would fight in Ulysses Grant, who was very controversial, and when a friend advised the president to fire Grant, Lincoln said, "I can't spare this man, he fights!"

Lincoln would have loved Barbara Madeloni.

I also want to recognize all those in the hall and the thousands of teachers who taught our children during the day, then on nights and weekends converted themselves into a campaign army, canvassing, phoning, and talking on-on one with their neighbors about Question 2. You are the real heroes of 2016.

Most importantly I want to thank my family members who are here with me today. My mother-in-law Joan Devlin, my son Sabir and daughter Anya, who both attend Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, and especially my wife Mary Devlin. They’ve heard a lot about dark money these past few years – and they’re going to hear a lot more!

I dove fully into researching dark money in 2016 when I saw $25 million - $20 million of it in untraceable hidden money - pouring into the side pushing charter schools. In the time I have been studying dark money, I have not heard one single reason why the voters of Massachusetts should not know who is behind the millions being used to influence them.

While rightly focusing on the charters campaign also remember that three out of the four ballot campaigns in 2016 were funded with illegal dark money. Three out of four. That’s a crisis for our democracy.

As to the $25 million over all spent by the Financial Privatization Cabal on Question 2, make no mistake about it. That was an investment in debilitating unions, which are the only effective counter weight in politics to an out and out plutocracy – government by the wealthy few. They have three goals: Debilitate unions, degrade public service, and avoid paying their Fair Share.

Ultimately, this is a fight about what kind of government we want to have: a plutocracy, or a democracy.

Louis D. Brandeis once said “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

Money never sleeps. Follow the money.

Thank you, and keep fighting.

The Washington Post recently adopted a new slogan: “Democracy dies in darkness.” I agree.

[Full disclosure: as an educator in the UMass system, I am a union member. I write about dark money (and other things). I don't write about education policy.]

Massachusetts Teachers Assocaition, dark money

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