DFER and the Ultra-Conservative Money Behind the Voucher Movement

Christina Collins:

If you’ve been wondering what’s behind the recent resurgence of voucher bills in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Wisconsin and other states, researcher Rachel Tabachnick has done a remarkable job following the money — some of which leads back to Democrats for Education Reform, a group familiar to those who follow school choice debates here in New York. According to her recent two-part series (which can be read here and here), much of the money and support for the voucher movement has come from groups linked to Betsy DeVos,

a former chair of the Michigan Republican Party; daughter of the late Edgar Prince and Elsa Prince-Broekhuizen; sister of Blackwater-founder Erik Prince; and wife of Dick DeVos (son of Richard and Helen DeVos). The Devos side of the family fortune comes from Amway/Alticor, the controversial, multi-tiered home products business. A Center for Public Integrity Report showed that the DeVos family and business interests were the fifth largest contributors in the 2003 -2004 election cycle, with 100% of the donations going to Republicans. Dick and Betsy DeVos have been credited with helping to finance the Citizens United case which allows Super PACs to raise unlimited funds and conceal the donors, meaning that we will no longer know who provides the millions of dollars for the big media campaigns, or reveal the information that I have in this article on the Pennsylvania campaign. The Prince and Devos families have also funded the Family Research Council, Focus on Family, and the ministries of the late D. James Kennedy, all warriors against separation of church and state.