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Largest education union endorses Obama…already?

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It's tough to comprehend how the National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest labor union, could endorse President Barack Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign before even considering the GOP contenders. But, when examining the group's past partisan behavior, this isn't that much of a surprise.

Yesterday, members of the NEA voted to support Obama at their annual convention in Chicago. Curiously, the vote was so early that the GOP doesn't even had the chance to be considered for the union's support. The L.A. Times has more:

Seventy-two percent of the National Education Association's representative assembly voted to support Obama, marking the group's earliest endorsement ever, and one that comes before the Republican field has narrowed to a single candidate.

The vote allows the union to urge its 3.2 million members to help re-elect the president.

Taking a look at the group's donations these past few years, it's no secret that filling the Democrats' campaign coffers is one of its main ideals. Below, take a look at the contributions the union has made since 1990, via OpenSecrets.org:

Already, for the 2012 cycle, the NEA has given $106,000 to Democrats and only $21,000 to Republicans. In 2012, more than $2.4 million went to Democrats, with only $138,800 going to Republicans. This pattern tracks similarly all the way down the chart.

In a statement, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel says Obama and the union share a vision and members wanted early and strong support to help his election. A vision? Hmm -- wonder if that vision has anything to do with improving education for America's children?

Unfortunately, education is one of those issues that is incessantly exploited for political purposes. Looking at the $36,310,095 donated since 1990, one cannot help but wonder how many books, supplies and other education-related materials could have been secured with those funds. Instead, these funds go toward electing mostly Democratic politicians.

The best use of these funds? Probably not.

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