DFER was born in New York state, and they are heavily involved in NY education politics. The group has pushed for the expansion of charter schools, mayoral control, and merit-pay tied to test scores. Although much of their work in the state is focused on New York City, the group has also meddled in education elections in Buffalo (more below) and the state legislature.
DFER recently hired Patricia Lynch Associates, a major NY lobbying firm, to push their pro-charter/merit-pay agenda. Patricia Lynch, a former communications director for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and her firm also lobby for the Harlem Success Charter School Network and Teach for America. According to the NYPost, each group will contribute $5k per month to lift the charter school cap (they succeeded). This wasn’t the first lobbyists with close ties to Silver hired by DFER: the group also used Brian Meara back in 2006. Hudson TG was also retained as a lobbyist during 2007-2008. DFER/ERN also currently uses Malkin & Ross, another lobbying firm, to push their agenda in NY.
See DFER-NYS under the “connections” section for more information about DFER’s campaign contributions in the state.
Additional articles about DFER in NY:
Bloomberg: “Maybe I Should” Donate To Pro-Charter Group – NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg doesn’t know if he’s given money to ERN, but the charity his daughter works for announced a $1 million donation earlier this year. More on Emma Bloomberg here.
DFER recently spent $50,000 on school board elections in Buffalo. ArtVoice‘s Bill Quigley covered the group’s activities in Buffalo (more here, here, and here), and raised questions about ERN’s expenditures. Don’t miss this recoding of Buck’s phone call with Whitney Kemp. ERN mailers supporting certain candidates were sent out from Kemp’s office, but she refers all questions to Stefan Friedman, a PR guy based in NY (Quigley explains it here).
DFER/ERN raised over $1 million for TV ads in 2006. They undoubtedly spent quite a bit to run these ads, too: