By Doug Martin
Whenever he gets the opportunity, Indiana State House 46 district member Bobby Heaton (who lives in Terre Haute) likes to let everyone know that he played basketball with Larry Bird back in the good ole days at Indiana State University, but nowadays Heaton is a Walmart team player, dribbling out school privatization for the filthy rich who don’t even live in Indiana, let alone his district.
Representing the high poverty and unemployed Vigo, Clay, Owen, and Monroe counties, over the last few years Heaton has received over $113,000 from the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC. The Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC is funded by the Walmart/Amway Corporation DeVos family/hedge fund manager/school voucher/charter school millionaires and billionaires who run the American Federation for Children and All Children Matters, front groups which I detail in my upcoming book Hoosier School Heist.Here is how the Walmart and DeVos/Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC's school privatization went down. Using heavy funding from thirteen donors which included Betsy DeVos, Walmart’s Alice and Jim Walton, Pennsylvania hedge fund managers, two leaders of charter schools in Indiana (John Bryan and J.C. Huizenga), and Jeb Bush friend John Kirtley, the American Federation for Children’s Indiana-registered PAC in 2010 funneled over $4.6 million into the Hoosier state (through the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC) and six other states using the Terre Haute office mailbox address of Christian Right lawyer James Bopp Jr., the man behind the Citizens United case which gave rights to corporations to fund campaign super-PACs without publically disclosing their donors. In 2010, the American Federation for Children gave various Indiana corporate school front groups $375,000 to attempt to swing eighty-five primary and general elections, using millionaire Fred Klipsch, School Choice Indiana, and Hoosiers for Economic Growth to elect a super-majority of Republicans to the Senate and take total control of the House to pass anti-public education laws in 2011.
That is right. Thirteen filthy rich people bought out Hoop Star Heaton, Indiana Republicans, and other lawmakers across the country to throw children and teachers under the bus and hand money to private schools. Thirteen, the same number of people in a kindergarten class in Indiana, not counting the aides, since a lot of schools don’t have them because there’s not enough money left after the free-market Christian Right schools and the for-profit charter school owners like John Bryan and J.C. Huizenga get their way because of people like Heaton.The Walton Walmart family, it should be noted, has the wealth of 48 million American families combined. Their whole goal is to privatize education so that rich people can steal our public schools and pay our teachers pennies. Michigan's DeVos family promotes biblical capitalism, school vouchers, and the free-market Christian Right message that Jesus hated poor people and came back to earth as Mitch Daniels’ buddy Milton Friedman to steal from the poor and help kill off citizens in Chile under dictator Augusto Pinochet. In 2010, Heaton took a staggering $47, 250 from the Walmart Walton Family/DeVos front group (see page 6 in the PDF box). In 2012 (see page 25 in PDF box), Walmart and DeVos' Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC gave Heaton $30,500 to spread school vouchers and charter schools across Indiana. In 2008, Heaton pocketed another $35,000 from the filthy rich school privatizers (see page 7 in PDF box).
Heaton is also funded by JP Morgan Chase (see page 4 in the PDF box), the mega-bank whose CEOs plan to do with schools what they did with middle-class and poor families doing the housing bubble, kick the kids to the streets and steal the roofs over their heads. JP Morgan has been making money from loans to charter schools in the Hoosier state and across America. Quite frankly, the only place JP Morgan Chase’s leaders belong in Indiana is in the federal prison in Terre Haute in Heaton’s own backyard.And let’s not forget that Heaton is also gifted by Eli Lilly (see page 25 in PDF box), which pretty much owns school reform in Indiana, as I’ve noted too many times to count. The drug company and its nonprofits, by far, are big players in the corporate school movement in Indiana, and current and past board members sit on a whole slew of boards and fund the people and groups out to privatize our schools. When they are not hiding billions of dollars in tax havens overseas or illegally marketing Zyprexa to nursing home residents, a drug which has killed off more than a few senior citizens and hurt thousands of people of all ages, they are funding the temporary teacher outfits Teach for America and the New Teacher Project in Indiana to take the place of real Hoosier educators.
Heaton has also taken money from Faegre Baker & Daniels LLP , the shady lawyers in Indianapolis I wrote about at Douglas Storm’s Common Errant a year ago, pointing out they helped fund Indy mayor Greg Ballard’s campaign for corporate charter schools.Heaton is loaded with money from corporate school operative Brian Bosma and Mitch Daniels' out-of-state funded Aiming Higher PAC. Aiming Higher is also funded by the Betsy DeVos/Walmart/hedge fund front group All Children Matter.
I am sure some of the small business people (like Baesler's Market) who gave a few hundred dollars in Terre Haute to Heaton's campaign would like to know how Heaton is working for Walmart, the mega-corporation out to put them out of business. I am positive his minister at the Union Christian Church in Terre Haute may like to know what "Christians" he's associating himself with. Teachers, real Christians, parents, small businesses, and community leaders in Terre Haute should know what team All Star Heaton's really playing on, how thirteen people running Walmart, Amway, hedge funds, and Indiana charter schools handed Bobby Heaton almost $113,000 for his role to turn over our schools to the wealthy. They should also know that Larry Bird did not fund Heaton’s campaign.