In the past, seven of the nine justices on the state Supreme Court received campaign contributions—all for the maximum amount allowed—from the Washington Education Association (WEA). Considering the fate of public charter schools hinged on these justices’ ruling on a lawsuit in which the WEA acted as a lead plaintiff, the contributions smelled of a conflict of interest.
While the state Legislature succeeded in saving public charter schools – despite Jay Inslee and most Democrats fighting to kill them – the WEA has launched another lawsuit to protect their education monopoly. That’s one of the reasons why it is so important to elect justices who will uphold the law — not the agenda of special interests — this fall.
So, which candidates to the state Supreme Court have accepted campaign contributions from the WEA this election cycle?
The Washington Policy Center points out:
“Public Disclosure Commission reports show WEA executives have already picked their favored candidates. They have given the maximum-allowed $2,000 contribution to the incumbent in each race: Mary Yu in Position 1; Barbara Madsen in Position 5; and Charles Wiggins in Position 6. The WEA union also operates separate PACs (Political Action Committees) which may give additional money in these races. In Washington, union membership for public school teachers is mandatory, union executives collect about $1,000 a year from each teacher, and they use this money to fund union operations. Union executives say they strive to keep their political activity separate, but they have made it clear that any teacher who does not pay will be fired.”
It comes as no surprise that the three State Supreme Court candidates who are up for re-election – Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, and Justices Mary Yu and Charles Wiggins – all accepted funds from the WEA. All three are unabashed ideological liberals and activist judges — just the type of judges the WEA likes most.
The court’s initial decision against charter schools shocked the nation the first time around. You can bet that justices like Madsen, Yu and Wiggins are willing to cater to special interests the second time around as well, if voters give them the chance.