DeVos dollars and "education choice"

LANSING -- The June 18th edition of the Sunday Free Press had a story on the DeVos family's prodigious giving to political committees, particularly the state and federal Republican Party committees, and Restoring the American Dream PAC. However, the story neglected to mention Prince-DeVos family contributions for what has arguably been its signature issue over the last several years: "education choice" – publicly funded vouchers for private and parochial schools, tax credits for private and parochial school tuition and charter schools.

Since 1999, the Prince-DeVos family has given $7,066,000 to just three such committees: Kids First! Yes!, the 2000 Michigan voucher initiative: $5,759,000; the Michigan political action committee known as the Great Lakes Education Project: $877,000; and a Virginia state political action committee that was run from Grand Rapids in the 2004 election cycle known as All Children Matter: $430,000.

In each of these committees, the now-deceased Wal-Mart heir John Walton was an important partner. Walton gave the Michigan voucher committee $2,025,000. He gave GLEP $200,000, and he gave All Children Matter-VA $3,175,000. Walton’s brother Jim also gave All Children Matter-VA $3,075,000. All Children Matter-VA was one of the biggest PACs – state or federal – active in the 2004 elections, spending more than $8.2 million in at least ten states from Florida to Washington.

Prince-DeVos contributions to "education choice" committees, 1999-2005

Kids First! Yes! GLEP ACM-VA
Dick & Betsy DeVos (incl. Windquest) $85,000 $660,000 $375,000
Rich & Helen DeVos (Dick DeVos’ parents) $3,464,000 $125,000 $50,000
Elsa Prince Broekhuizen (Betsy DeVos' mother) $2,000,000 $75,000 $5,000
Erik Prince (Betsy DeVos' brother) $200,000 $0 $0
Dan DeVos (Dick DeVos' brother) $10,000 $0 $0
Doug (Dick DeVos' brother) & Marie DeVos $0 $17,000 $0
Total $5,759,000 $877,000 $430,000

Read what various sources have had to say about All Children Matter:

Look up the receipts and expenditures for All Children Matter. Go to: the state of Virginia's Campaign Finance Disclosure web site, select 2004 as 'reporting year'; and select All Children Matter from the drop-down list of committee names.

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