By Doug Martin at Hoosier School Heist Blog
(This is Doug Martin’s 3rd article in a series on Hillary Clinton’s fundraising. See article one here and article 2 here.)
Hillary Clinton has been busy this summer, working all of her wealthy connections to gather money for her campaign. Two campaign bundlers are lobbyists Heather and Tony Podesta.
Heather Podesta is married to Tony Podesta, the brother of John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s former Chief of Staff, once-keynote speaker at a Jeb Bush school privatization conference, and leader of the Center for American Progress.
As I detail in my book Hoosier School Heist, the Center for American Progress is NOT the democracy-promoting group liberals believe it is. Backed up by a right-wing mouth piece claiming public schools have too much nepotism, the Center for American Progress cooked up a plan to eliminate local school boards across America which would have made the Koch Brothers’ father’s John Birch Society envious.
Heather Podesta was Edison School’s lobbyist in 2007. Her firm, Heather Podesta & Partners, has also lobbied for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Last year, Heather Podesta & Partners raked in $7 million by working for, among others, Eli Lilly, a big corporate school funder in Indiana, and Aramark Sports & Entertainment Services, which is part of the multi-national corporation Aramark whose Aramark Correctional Services profits from the private prison complex and has repeatedly given prisoners food laced with maggots.
Aramark also operates custodial services for schools. In Chicago in April, despite the promise to save money for CPS, Aramark over-budgeted for $20 million, as principals complained of Aramark’s services leading to filthy schools. One Chicago school cafeteria was closed because of roaches and mice, although it is not clear whether this was under the watch of Aramark or SodexoMAGIC, the other company in contract with CPS.
Last year, Heather Podesta sat on the DC Democratic Party’s Senate Majority PAC board. Hillary’s supporters at the American Federation of Teachers donated at least $1.95 million to this super PAC last year.
And then there’s Tony, Heather’s husband, who is also raising campaign funding for Hillary.
Dubbed as one of DC’s “biggest players” by the New York Times, Tony Podesta runs the lobbying firm Podesta Group. In 2013, one of the Podesta Group’s largest clients was the Walmart Walton family’s WAL-PAC, which funds politicians across America. It is no great secret that the Walton family is a major financial backer of school privatization in the United States. At the time of writing my book, the Walton’s anti-public school funding had shattered the billion dollar mark.
From this April to the end of June, the Podesta team of Heather and Tony bundled a little over $100,000 for Hillary.
For more on the Podestas, Aramark, and Hillary, see Susan Ohanian’s notes here.