Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ranking: 15

Total contributions to super PACs: $5.8 million*

  • $2 million to Majority PAC (pro-Democratic)
  • $1.5 million to Priorities USA Action (pro-Barack Obama)
  • $1.1 million to Workers’ Voice (pro-Democratic), formerly known as AFL-CIO Workers’ Voices PAC
  • $700,000 to House Majority PAC (pro-Democratic)
  • $250,000 to DGA Action (pro-Democratic)
  • $100,000 to Ohio Families United (pro-Sherrod Brown)
  • $100,000 to Women Vote! (pro-Democratic)

Notable federal hard money and 527 contributions:

  • $10,000 to the Ohio Democratic Party

Notable state-level contributions:

  • $5 million in support of or opposition to California ballot measures (2004-2012)
  • $1.2 million in support of or opposition to Michigan ballot measures (2006-2012)
  • $617,500 to the Ohio Democratic Party (2000-2012)
  • $250,000 to the California Democratic Party (2006)

Total spent on federal lobbying (2007-2012): $6.6 million

Lobbying issues: Federal budget and appropriations, education, labor and workplace issues, health care, Medicare and Medicaid, retirement, taxes, trade, civil rights and civil liberties as well as issues pertaining to the District of Columbia


The American Federation of Teachers is the nation’s second-largest teachers union next to the National Education Association. The AFT claims 1.5 million members, and it represents K-12 teachers and school employees in the nation’s largest urban school districts. In addition, the AFT counts teachers in post-secondary schools, public employees and health care workers among its membership.

The union mobilized support for President Barack Obama’s re-election bid with large voter registration, phone-banking, door knocking and get-out-the-vote efforts.

It also launched a bus tour through swing states in the final weeks of the campaign. At a stop in Toledo, Ohio, AFT President Randi Weingarten urged teachers to support Obama, saying GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney had a “binder of bad ideas” for public education.

The union sent donations to candidates in key U.S. Senate races, helping Democrats to victory in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri and Massachusetts. It supported high-profile congressional races featuring women, including Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who won a House seat, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who won a U.S. Senate seat.

In a statement soon after Obama’s re-election, Weingarten celebrated AFT’s ground game as contributing to a “victory for people power over money power.”

Last updated: Jan. 30, 2013

*2011-2012 election cycle. Source: Center for Responsive Politics and Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records. Totals include contributions from individuals, family members and corporations that are controlled by the individual super donor.

Help support this work

Public Integrity doesn’t have paywalls and doesn’t accept advertising so that our investigative reporting can have the widest possible impact on addressing inequality in the U.S. Our work is possible thanks to support from people like you.