Landmark v. The NEA

Landmark Legal Foundation’s five-year investigation of the National Education Association, and subsequent legal action, is a powerful reminder of the value of persistence and hard-work. It is also an impressive example of how conservative activists can pro-actively and effectively counter established, entrenched, and well-funded opposition.



In the 12 years that the Landmark Legal Foundation has championed the right of low-income and minority students to receive a quality education in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, the NEA has been the most vigorous opponent to meaningful education reform. It is also no surprise that the NEA is one of the most powerful and effective forces in American politics. Yet, until Landmark launched its Quality Schools initiatives, virtually nothing was known about the manner in which the NEA flexed its political muscle. That is why Landmark spent several years and significant resources gathering and analyzing an enormous body of previously undisclosed evidence about the NEA’s operations.

Landmark’s July 20, 2001, Complaint Against the NEA

In July, 2001, Landmark filed a comprehensive complaint with the IRS demonstrating how the NEA coordinated campaign activities and political spending with the DNC, the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign and other political organizations – all in flagrant violation of federal tax law. Landmark’s complaint includes compelling information from Federal Election Commission (FEC) documents that shed an entirely new light on the NEA’s political activities.

The FEC evidence establishes that the NEA does not merely spend millions supporting candidates for public office, but the union sets the national Democratic Party’s campaign policy as a member of a “Coordinated Campaign Steering Committee.” The evidence also describes in detail how the NEA, its state and local affiliates, and state Democratic committees work with the Coordinated Campaign Steering Committee to develop and implement campaign strategies and spending priorities.

This evidence is important because it demonstrates that the NEA is using tax-exempt general revenues, in coordination with other political organizations, to influence local, state and federal elections without reporting any of these activities to the IRS, and without paying the required corporate income taxe