Pro-Charter School PAC Fined $5.2 Million; White Hat’s Brennan A Donor

White Hat Founder and CEO David Brennan.All Children Matter, a Michigan-based pro-charter Political Action Committee (PAC) violated Ohio campaign finance laws by funneling $870,000 to its affiliated PAC in Ohio in 2006 and was assessed a record $5.2 million fine by the bipartisan Ohio Elections Commission in a unanimous ruling publicized yesterday.

White Hat founder and CEO David Brennan contributed $200,000 to the group. Ohio campaign laws limit PAC contributions by individuals and corporations to $10,000 per year, but since the group was raising its money in Virginia where individual and corporate contributions are unlimited, Brennan was able to donate in increments of $50,000 and had no legislatively mandated ceiling on his contributions. White Hat operates the largest number of privately managed charter schools in Ohio, which include the Hope Academy and Life Skills Center chains.

You can read the full story in the Columbus Dispatch here, or read the recent series of posts by The CEA Blog examining the Ohio Department of Education’s statistics for the Hope Academy and Life Skills Center charter school chains here.

OFT’s IRS Letter About White Hat Garners Press, Bloggers’ Attention

The CEA Blog wrote a post about the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) who wrote a letter to the IRS, asking for an investigation of Akron-based White Hat Management’s 503 (c) tax-exempt status. The management firm operates numerous “Life Skills Centers” and “Hope Academies” in three states, pulling in an estimated $85 million annually in tax dollar revenue in Ohio alone.

News outlets and bloggers have begun to write as well discuss recent developments. Highlights are below, after the jump.

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NCLB Gains Official Pop Culture Status With "Not On The Test"

chapin52lrsmall.JPGGrammy award winning musical jack-of-all-trades Tom Chapin and songwriting partner John Forster aim their guitar and songwriting skills at satirizing No Child Left Behind and the testing mania that has engulfed the nation. “Not On The Test” is available for free download with the lyrics here.

 Check out the embedded video after the jump.

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