Obscene amounts of money translate into power.

Obscene amounts of money–billions–often translate into the ability to buy elections. But not always, as we saw in the recent school board election in Los Angeles, when the candidate of the Billionaire Boys Club was beaten by Steve Zimmer.

Billionaires don’t just try to buy elections.

They try to buy anyone who might help them or hinder them in their quest for power.

The Gates Foundation, for example, underwrites almost every organization in its quest to control American education. It supports rightwing groups like Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Educational Excellence and Ben Austin’s Parent Revolution. In the recent past, it gave money to the reactionary ALEC. It pays young teachers to oppose unions and to testify against the rights of tenured teachers. It also pays unions to support its ideas about evaluations, despite their flaws. It spends hundreds of millions of dollars to support “independent” think tanks, which are somewhat less independent when they become dependent on Gates money.

The other day, I reported that the ACLU had persuaded the U.S. Department of Justice to take action against voucher schools in Milwaukee that discriminate against students with disabilities. My source at the ACLU, who sent me the DOJ statement and the ACLU press release, mentioned in passing that the National Urban League had turned its back on the ACLU’s efforts to make private choice schools non-discriminatory.

Wonder why? Here is a possible answer.

Switch to teacher evaluation.

Some teachers in New York have wondered why their state union organization is not fighting the misuse of test scores as the basis of evaluation.

Wonder why? Here is a possible answer.

Power corrupts. So does money.