StudentsFirst and another far-right group called Tennessee Federation for Children are pumping huge amounts of money into state legislative races for candidates who support vouchers and charters.

Tennessee Federation for Children is affiliated with the pro-voucher organization called American Federation for Children, run by billionaire Betsy DeVos of Michigan. AFS honored Michelle Rhee and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin for their efforts on behalf of vouchers in 2010.

This report in the Tessessean says:

The Tennessee PAC affiliated with StudentsFirst, a Sacramento, Calif.-based organization led by former Washington, D.C., Chancellor of Schools Michelle Rhee, has pumped $376,266 into Tennessee this year. That sum includes contributions to a handful of local school board contenders in Nashville and Memphis but far more to candidates seeking state legislative seats. Most of the recipients are Republicans.

StudentsFirst’s Tennessee PAC, formed last year, spent $66,150 in the Volunteer State over the past month alone, according to financial disclosures submitted last week.

During the same four-week time frame, a PAC called Tennessee Federation for Children, a branch of a Washington organization that expanded to Tennessee this spring, accounted for $145,302 in contributions and other expenditures. The group spent $248,539 in Tennessee altogether this year, with money going to direct mail efforts and to pro-voucher candidates.

When I was in Chattanooga in September this year, a Democratic candidate told me that a campaign gift of $1,000 was considered huge, so you can imagine the power of this kind of money for conservative Republicans and a few rightwing Democrats.