The National Education Association (NEA) and an army of other left-wing groups are working desperately to spin billboards meant to deter voter fraud into a get-out-the-vote drive in Ohio and Wisconsin. NEA and its state affiliates have joined a "voter suppression" rallying cry over billboards which simply read "VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY!" and listed the maximum penalty for committing voter fraud.
"A coalition of nonpartisan civil rights and voting rights groups and the National Education Association is working to put a stop to a jumbo-size voter suppression scheme," the NEA wrote in an October 22 blog entry.
NEA excitedly reported the removal of "the threatening signs" from billboards owned by Clear Channel Outdoor in the face of a coordinated intimidation campaign, noting that a "counter-effort" would include billboards funded by a group calling itself "Election Protection."
In addition to the nation's largest teachers union, Election Protection partners include the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, American Federation of Teachers, National Council of La Raza, Rock the Vote, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Common Cause, ProgressNow, Sierra Club, and Human Rights Campaign.
Color of Change, founded by former Obama "Green Jobs" Czar Van Jones, and Demos, funded by progressive billionaire George Soros, are also Election Protection partners.
Perhaps most interestingly, the Election Protection coalition includes Project Vote - long an affiliate of the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
In its October 22 story, NEA sought to tie Clear Channel to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, writing, "Clear Channel Outdoor, an affiliate of the Clear Channel media conglomerate owned by Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital since 2008, claims a salesperson mistakenly sold the billboard spaces to an anonymous 'private family foundation,' going against company policy."
Romney departed Bain in 1999, nearly a decade before "Mitt Romney's Bain Capital" purchased Clear Channel. When Cleveland liberals first began comparing the billboards to Jim Crow laws early this October, Clear Channel Outdoor responded that "the agency does not have anything to do with language on advertisements."
"According to multiple news outlets, the anonymous foundation chose to remain in the shadows rather than go public," wrote the national teachers union which has spent tens of millions of dollars promoting liberal politicians and policies.
Charlie Sykes, a conservative Wisconsin talk radio host, reported that the private family foundation which had paid for the anti-fraud message in key swing states agreed to void a contract for use of the billboards through November 6 after Clear Channel threatened to release the family's identity.
The NEA story continued, "as with any case of bullying, only time will tell just how much damage was already done." NEA was referring not to the coordinated left-wing attack on the billboards, but to the allegedly oppressive signage displayed by a private foundation which chose to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.
NEA then quoted Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Patricia Frost-Brooks, the Ohio Democratic Party's "Democrat of the Year."
"This just goes to show how extremists will use any means necessary to win this election, and will even go as far as intimidating voters out of exercising their right to vote," Frost-Brooks said.
Frost-Brooks, who was paid $148,211 in forced dues in 2011, added, "As a minority community leader, this gets me to my core. But it’s collective action that makes a difference - just like the coalitions coming together to fight these voter suppression billboards."
NEA also quoted national president Dennis Van Roekel, who made it clear Election Protection would now focus its attention on smearing Norton Outdoor, the advertising company displaying the same billboards in Cincinnati.
"We need to say it loud and clear - dirty tricks and intimidation will not be tolerated in our electoral process," said Van Roekel, who was paid $460,060 in 2011.
As Media Trackers has reported, NEA and OEA are staunch advocates of Barack Obama's reelection. OEA has frequently used member dues to promote Obama and attack Mitt Romney through its magazine and social media channels.
Desperate for additional federal spending on education, the NEA endorsed Obama's reelection in 2011 and has pushed its "Educators for Obama" initiative through affiliates nationwide.
The NEA story concluded with an indication of what the feigned offense over billboards is truly about, again quoting Frost-Brooks: "Our students' education is at risk and the quality of public education that our professionals deliver every day is at risk. Supporting all voters' rights and getting out the vote is what we’ve got to do."
Cross-posted from Media Trackers Ohio.