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Enemies of Public Education

Three special interest groups, Americans for Prosperity, the Goldwater Institute, and the American Federation for Children, have each spent untold millions in Arizona on influencing elections and expanding ESA vouchers.22  Together, they are working to dismantle public education, viewing our schools as moneymakers and our kids as profits.

The political network of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch1 has spent millions of dollars on these pursuits through Americans for Prosperity, its main lobbying arm.2 Gov. Ducey admitted to relying on his well-documented ties to the Kochs3 to help ram the unpopular ESA voucher expansion through the Arizona Legislature.4 The Kochs plan to spend $300 to $400 million on crucial 2018 campaigns nationwide.5

Another arm of the Koch network targeting Latino voters, the Libre Institute, recently launched a six-figure ad campaign in Arizona to promote ESA vouchers. The campaign is an early attempt to sway voters who will decide whether or not to expand vouchers statewide in November 2018 when Proposition 305 appears on the ballot.7

The Goldwater Institute, a multimillion-dollar lobbying firm known as “the architect of Arizona’s universal voucher plan,” is also funded heavily by the Koch network.8 Goldwater developed the idea for ESAs and helped convince lawmakers to make it state law, exerting an unprecedented level of control over the program from idea to implementation.9 The Goldwater Institute has since joined a lawsuit filed by out-of-state special interest groups which would prevent Arizonans from being able to vote on ESA voucher expansion.12

The American Federation for Children (AFC)13, run by billionaire Betsy DeVos14 until she became Donald Trump’s secretary of education, has lobbied Arizona legislators for years to pass ESA vouchers.15 DeVos tweeted a congratulations to Gov. Ducey the same evening he signed SB1431 into law.16 AFC spent heavily to influence Arizona’s 2016 elections; their paid lobbyists are often seen at the state Capitol.