In politics, money talks.
Over a period of four days last week, groups affiliated with Michelle Rhee – the controversial former chancellor of Washington DC’s public schools – dumped nearly $160,000 in a single state House race.
So… who is Michelle Rhee?
According to a profile from Reuters, “She has vowed to raise $1 billion for her national advocacy group, StudentsFirst, and forever break the hold of teachers unions on education policy.” Rhee was also tied to a school cheating scandal in Washington DC, following her resignation as chancellor.
Rhee refuses to disclose her donors or discuss fundraising, but Reuters reports that Rhee’s groups have taken millions from wealthy special interests, including New York’s billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and the Walton Family Foundation, which is funded by heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune.
While Rhee has spent millions on lobbying to advance her extreme agenda in states across the country, her track record in Michigan elections is spotty at best.
Last year, Rhee’s group spent at least $210,000 to defend then-Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc) in his recall election. Scott became the first Michigan lawmaker to be recalled by voters in nearly three decades, following his vote to cut $1 BILLION from K-12 schools.
Will Rhee’s spending have an influence in the 6th district primary between Rep. Stapleton and Rep. Tlaib? We’ll have to wait to find out on Tuesday.
One thing is clear – Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst care a lot more about protecting wealthy special interests than they do about protecting Michigan’s kids.