Saturday, March 5, 2016

Breaking: MCEA Shuts Down Local Apple Ballot PAC

The Montgomery County Education Association Fund for Quality Schools PAC, known to voters as the Apple Ballot mailer that would come each election time, is no more.  The Montgomery County PAC was shut down and had a zero balance in their last report.

Apparently, the contributions of teachers alone were simply not enough to sustain this local Apple Ballot PAC.  Recall The Washington Post's expose of the funding scheme that the Montgomery County Apple Ballot PAC was using back in 2010. 
...Candidates who receive the union's stamp of approval are also then expected to pay.  As far as we know, this arrangement is unique; in elections elsewhere, unions and other special interests contribute to candidates, not vice versa. But such is the overweening power of the teachers union in Montgomery that the usual rules are turned upside down. And it's no coincidence that the union's toxic influence in local elections is matched by its success in squeezing unaffordable concessions from the county in contract negotiations -- at taxpayers' expense.
In the latest elections for the Montgomery County Council, in 2006, most candidates on the union-approved (and trademarked) "Apple Ballot" coughed up the maximum contribution allowed by state law, $6,000, to a PAC run by the Montgomery County Education Association, as the teachers union is known. Union-backed candidates for the Board of Education also paid handsomely. Supposedly, these funds covered the cost of the union's mailings to constituents and other activities on behalf of its anointed candidates -- although there is no real accounting on a campaign-by-campaign basis. In theory, these contributions are voluntary. In fact, several sources told us that the MCEA's chief political strategist, Jon Gerson, made it clear that he expected candidates, once endorsed, to pay what they "owed" for the union's campaign on their behalf. One candidate, asked to explain the decision to pay, answered concisely: "Fear."...

After that, the $6,000 arrangements dried up.  Then, the Apple Ballot was involved in this scandal:

...At issue are phone calls by Jon Gerson, chief political strategist for the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), in which his interlocutors say that he threatened to withhold the group’s political support from anyone backing county school board hopeful Rebecca K. Smondrowski. “Support her, and you can just forget about ever getting our support” is how one activist characterized the message from Mr. Gerson. Ms. Smondrowski, whom we have endorsed, is a candidate for the Montgomery County Board of Education in Tuesday’s contest, which will include two candidates backed by the MCEA, Fred Evans and Jeanne Ellinport.
Included in the effort to siphon support from Ms. Smondrowski, sources told us, were personal slanders. “I don’t recall” was Mr. Gerson’s initial response when we asked him about them. When pressed, he said that he doesn’t believe that the conversations occurred in the way described to us, arguing that the credibility of those who insist on anonymity must be doubted. We, too, wish that those who told us of their encounters with Mr. Gerson would agree to be named, but the teachers union has such an outsize role in Montgomery politics that few dare to cross it...

And now, this:



  1. Many skeletons in MCEA's closet, forcing the shut down due to fear of exposure... most of the skeletons were created by Gerson.

  2. As a teacher, my spouse has long been disgusted by the Apple Ballot. The rank-and-file has no input on the candidates and issues [often not directly related to education] for which the MCEA chooses to advocate. Teachers are requested to help promote the Apple Ballot by standing outside polling places [all the better if the polling place is the school at which the teacher works] to hand them to voters. The MCEA does not speak for all teachers when it comes to politics.

    1. Would your wife speak up? Residents in this county are at the mercy of the MCEA with it's influence in council, county executive, and state delegation elections. The MCEA has its own delegates to the state assembly, Bonnie Cullison and Eric Luedtke, and its fingers in every pie. Yet even though we periodically hear this about rank-and-file teachers, we don't see any change in the MCEA. Why is that?

    2. We're at the mercy of shortsighted, self-serving, self-centered individuals.

    3. Do you meant the voters in this county?


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