Mary Cheney's Shadow Group Smears Teachers Unions in Ohio Mailers

| Thu Nov. 3, 2011 10:15 AM EDT

A slew of outside political groups are pumping millions of dollars into Ohio to influence the November 8th referendum on the fate of Gov. John Kasich's anti-union bill, SB 5, which curbs collective bargaining rights for 350,000 public workers. One of those outside groups is the Alliance for America's Future (AAF), a Virginia-based conservative outfit whose leadership includes Dick Cheney's daughter Mary. AAF has pledged to spend "over seven figures" to defend Kasich's bill, including bankrolling mailers that describe a vote to uphold Kasich's bill as a rebuke of President Obama's policies.

Mother Jones obtained copies of AAF's latest mailers, in which Cheney's group smears teachers' unions as greedy and out to protect incompetent and deviant workers. The mailers also hype up the tenuous connection between Obama and Issue 2, the ballot measure that will decide whether SB 5 survives.

One Alliance for America's Future mailer relies on dodgy statistics to portray public workers as grossly overpaid, citing an American Enterprise Institute study claiming public-sector workers earn 43 percent more than their counterparts. (Fact-check sites have repeatedly debunked AEI's conclusion.) It claims, "There's a Reason Government Unions Don't Want Good Teachers Rewarded...It Might Upset the BAD ONES."

Make no mistake, some teachers' unions are indeed hidebound, and in rare cases, end up forcing cash-strapped school districts into costly legal fights over what appear to be indefensible acts by unionized teachers. But what's far more indefensible is tarring all "government" unions as only out to shield "bad teachers."

Here's another mailer set against two photos of a stern-looking Obama, reading, "If He Wants You to Vote NO on ISSUES 2 & 3...You'll Probably Want to VOTE YES."

This is just a peek at all the mud getting thrown around in Ohio, where the fight will only get dirtier in the final days before the vote. Campaign finance experts predict as much as $40 million could be spent on the November 8 election, topping the $35 million spent in the 2010 gubernatorial race.