At first it was a bit remarkable to see four separate charter school PACs—Stand for Children WA PAC, Democrats for Education Reform WA PAC, Revising the Status Quo PAC, and Education Voters Political Action Fund—all spending money in a handful of Seattle area legislative primaries. Remarkable, that is, until I peeked behind the PDC curtain and pretty much found one PAC masquerading as four.
Stand for Children, the best financed of the three, has raised $163,800 from just 17 contributors, with almost half its money coming from Jeff Bezos' dad. Education Voters has raised $75,190 from just four contributors, almost all of it coming from Bezos' parents. Democrats for Education Reform comes off as only slightly more democratic, raising $55,450 from 20 contributors, including $15,000 from Bezos' parents. And Revising the Status Quo has raised $8,915 from 21 contributors, $6,000 of which came from Stand and Democrats for Education Reform.
Of the $297,355 raised across the four PACs, $165,000 came from the Bezos family. And of the handful of other contributors, many of them have contributed to two or more of the PACs.
On the expenditure side, all four PACs have contributed to Sylvester Cann and Stephanie Bowman, and Stand, Education Voters, and Democrats for Education Reform have all done independent expenditures in support of Cann and Bowman. Further more, all of these IEs were done by the same direct mail house, Amplified Strategies, a firm that proudly boasts its work on the No on I-1098 (High earners income tax) a campaign to which the billionaire Bezos family contributed $150,000.
So while it may look like Cann and Bowman are getting a lot of support from a broad array of good-sounding organizations with "education" in their names, it's pretty much just the libertarian tax-hating/charter-school-loving Bezos family (which has also given $500,000 to the charter schools initiative) laundering its money through a bunch of shell PACs. Legally, but still....