The host committee for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., reported receiving a $25,000 contribution from a conservative education reform group in its year-end filing to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.
The contribution from Education Reform Now, a proponent of charter schools and limits on the negotiating power of teachers' unions, was made prior to the early September convention, but is just being reported now by the host committee.
It was one of a handful of contributions listed on the committee's last filing for 2012. In total, the group reported $345,000 in direct contributions and another $2 million loan from Bank of America. The largest donations were $100,000 each from Democratic donor Annette P. Cumming and the Dyson Foundation. Two local chapters of the Service Employees International Union, from California and Washington state, chipped in a combined $100,000 as well. The hedge fund Guggenheim Capital also gave $25,000.
But the contribution by Education Reform Now is certainly the most surprising of those reported Thursday, due to the solid Democratic Party support rendered by teachers' unions.
Education Reform Now is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that does not disclose its donors. It has received large contributions over the years from foundations associated with wealthy Democrats and Republicans, including billionaire Eli Broad's family foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.
The group used the Charlotte convention to promote its reform agenda through informational gatherings and a screening of the Hollywood feature film "Won't Back Down." The movie, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, depicted a teacher and a student's mother taking on the teachers' unions at an inner-city school.
Education Reform Now declined to comment on its contribution to the convention.
Overall, the DNC host committee reported debts of more than $1 million and Bank of America loans of $9 million, including the $2 million received in the final quarter of 2012.