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A 'Claypool level' of hypocrisy?...Chicago Teachers Union leaders tout so-called 'member driven endorsement' while evading most members' questions about political action, PAC contributions, and the finances of the CTU Foundation...

Less than one day after Mayor Rahm Emanuel and outgoing CPS CEO Forrest Claypool -- aided and abetted by a group of preacher patronage beneficiaries -- gave Chicago a loud example of smarmy hypocrisy, the leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union did the same thing by proclaiming that the CTU has been "member driven" in political endorsements despite the overwhelming evidence that this claim is a lie.

Less than a month after the CTU's House of Delegates members were greeted with flyers touting the candidacy of Brandon Johnson, a CTU organizer and political functionary, for a seat on the County Board -- without any member endorsement -- CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey noted in a widely distributed press release (see below) that the CTU has what Sharkey calls a "member driven endorsement" process. But for more than a year the CTU's political action money and political endorsements have been kept almost as a trade secret from the majority of the union's 25,000 members. House of Delegates members and the union's rank-and-file dues paying (currently more than $1,000 per year) teachers can search high and low and not find a complete listing of all the money the CTU PAC (Political Action fund) has distributed. Anyone doubting this fact should try and get that information from the CTU Website or from materials distributed to the union's delegates (including this reporter) at HOD meetings.

In fact, while proclaiming that the CTU has a rank and file member-drive endorsement process after the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) announced that it was endorsing J.B. Pritzker for Governor, CTU has been evasive in its own political endorsements going back now several years.

The December 9, 2017 press release from CTU is here:

CTU: members drive endorsement process, and no formal endorsement has been made in governor's race

CHICAGO, December 9, 2017—The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today in the wake of the IFT's endorsement in the Illinois gubernatorial race. The statement can be attibuted to CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey.

We respect the vote of our partner Locals in the Illinois Federation of Teachers to make an endorsement in the race for governor of our state. The members of the Chicago Teachers Union have our own internal independent democratic process for making political endorsements, and our members will make a decision on behalf of the CTU in the coming weeks on candidates for governor, Attorney General and other state and local races.

As Chicago confronts another planned round of devastating school closures and disinvestment, our members must lead the process to determine which candidates might best offer transformative strategies to address the Great Depression-era levels of unemployment, neglect and persistent violence that plague our communities.

Our nation, state and city face critical questions on both the direction in which government is moving and the leadership that should steward that process. We want to ensure that our membership is able to express their will and drive the effort to determine which candidates the CTU should support as part of that process.



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