Despite the fact that teachers in general are split between Republican, Democrat and Independent voters in proportions roughly equal to the population as a whole, nearly all of the MEA’s financial and organizational support goes to Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party.
According to a November 1993 Detroit Free Press report, in the 1991-92 Michigan elections the MEA PAC was the single largest contributor to Democratic candidates, spending $914,000. By comparison, the MEA contributed only $65,952 to Republican coffers in the same election period. The Michigan Trial Lawyers, who placed second in campaign contributions to Democrats during the same election, spent only $252,425.
In 1994, MEA PAC contributions fell to $642,619, dropping the union to the third largest PAC contributor. However, the state’s largest PAC contributor, Citizens for Better Government, contributed $897,226 to statewide elections. Who is Citizens for Better Government? Aside from funding MEA PAC, the Michigan Education Association contributed nearly all the funding of Citizens for Better Government—making the MEA by far the largest PAC contributor in the State of Michigan at $1.5 million.
Detroit News writer George Weeks reported that Citizens for Better Government spent $843,752 out of their $886,232 on the unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign of East Lansing attorney Larry Owen, $23,454 on Democratic nominee Howard Wolpe, and $10,000 for Democratic Michigan Supreme Court Justice Conrad Mallett.
The MEA’s contribution decisions may be expected considering the traditional partisan loyalties of labor unions. Common Cause Magazine reported in 1996 that "roughly 99 percent of labor’s soft money goes to the Democrats, and two of the top four and four of the top 10 Democratic soft money contributors are unions."