REPORT: Chicago Teachers Union Faces Backlash Over Lack Of Transparency For Campaign Spending

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The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is facing criticism over a lack of transparency over the use of member funds, according to a report.

The CTU has decided to support Brandon Johnson, a former teacher and current CTU member, in his quest to become Chicago’s next mayor. The union has reportedly put nearly $1 million behind his campaign to unseat current mayor Lori Lightfoot, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The union reportedly transferred $415,000 from their coffers to the political action committee funds on Feb. 9, according to campaign finance documents acquired by the Chicago Tribune. The union initially claimed that the transfer was a loan that would eventually be repaid.

“The loan to the CTU’s Political Action funds simply moves money from when we collect it (after the 2023 municipal election) to the time we need it (during the 2023 municipal election),” the union said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “The loans will be repaid with political funds we collect between the end of February and the end of June.” (RELATED: Chicago Teachers Union Suddenly Agrees To Immediate In-Person Classes After Threatening To Strike)

However, according to the Chicago Tribune, the CTU faced backlash from their own members who did not want the union using their member fees in a political campaign. Some members even claim that they had no idea their fees were being used for political ends.

“Members weren’t notified; many of us were notified by going onto the website and finding out this money was donated, and it wasn’t done in a transparent way,” CTU delegate Mary Esposito Usterbowski said, according to WTTW.

The Chicago Tribune reported that in 2015 the CTU gave $325,000 to support Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in an unsuccessful run for mayor, according to WTTW. Some CTU members claim that the union has not repaid these funds.

“Our experience is we’ve loaned a candidate money that was never repaid,” CTU member John Kugler said to WTTW.

Spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections Matt Dietrich wrote to the CTU, saying that the loan was illegal and their status as a union meant that the money was to be treated as a contribution, WTTW reported.

The CTU then sent a letter to Dietrich claiming that the funds would be reclassified as a donation instead.

“Members becoming disenchanted with the union, members wanting to pull their dues — this is going to dissipate the union’s political power,” CTU delegate David Arredondo told WTTW.