All over the nation, Walton money is flowing into state and local elections to help candidates who will privatize public schools.

Now, as I reported previously, and as Mercedes Schneider writes about here, the Waltons are spreading their wings and buying “grassroots” support (doesn’t the purchase of support mean it is not grassroots?). As Mercedes puts it, just “sell the idea” and “leave the funding to us.”

But the Waltons are not merely funding advocates and research and media. They are actively intervening and interfering into the democratic process (as Putin did in 2016 in our presidential election), sinking the hopes of home-grown candidates who can’t match their funding. Putin did it by stealth and social media, the Waltons do their dirty work in the open, using the sheer force of money.

The Waltons as a family are hereby enrolled on this blog’s Wall of Shame, for their persistent attack on democracy and the electoral process, which should be determined by the voters, uninfluenced by billionaires from out of state.

They are meddling with elections in hopes of electing state and local school boards, mayors, governors, and members of Congress who will share their dream of opening more charter schools and eliminating teachers’ unions. They have poured millions into charter referenda in Massachusetts and Washington State, as well as statewide elections in California.

The latest example: Chicago, where none of the Waltons live.

With major financial help from the billionaire heirs of the Arkansas-based Walmart fortune, the PACs related to the Illinois Network of Charter Schools are aiming to become a political force in the upcoming Chicago mayoral and aldermanic campaigns.

The children and grandchildren of Helen and Sam Walton, founders of the Walton Family Foundation and Walmart, are donors to the nonprofit Illinois Network of Charter Schools and its two allied political action committees, either from the family foundation or individual contributions, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis revealed…

Members of the Walton family, one of the wealthiest in the U.S., are active nationally in bankrolling pro-charter organizations, causes and candidates supporting school choice.

Chicago is home to 122 charter schools with about 60,000 students, Broy said.

The publicly funded, privately operated charter school movement in Chicago may be at a crossroads, fighting to not lose political ground and retain enrollments in a period of slowing growth.

A charter school champion, the anti-public union Gov. Bruce Rauner lost his re-election bid; another supporter, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is stepping down, and the race to replace him is wide open, with the powerful Chicago Teachers Union backing Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Let us celebrate every time a Walton-funded candidate loses, because democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder.