Here in New Hampshire, we have seen minimal political contributions and lobbying for vouchers. While there was some outside-funded advocacy, most of the legislative committee testimony in support was from the legislators and advocacy organizations who wrote the legislation and from the small Christian schools who stand most to benefit. But Pennsylvania, a large state with an established voucher program that was a reference point for ours, is a different story. Here is a detailed report (Link) on the large scale political funding in support of vouchers in the last election.
Pittsburgh City Paper reporter Chris Potter says:
State Rep. James Roebuck has been in politics for a quarter-century, but he’d never before faced the kind of primary fight he had this spring. His challenger, Fatimah Muhammad, was a political upstart with little history in the district. Yet she was able to raise more than $230,000 for her campaign, seemingly overnight.
“I felt like the money was being poured on my head,” recalls Roebuck, a Philadelphia Democrat. Muhammad “put up billboards all across the district, and had six or seven people working at every polling place.”
And then there were the mailings, like the one blaring, “James Roebuck has sold out our children to special interests.” Finally, Roebuck says, “My wife said, ‘I hate coming home, because I’m tired of always finding mail about you in the door slot.'”
Roebuck couldn’t even tell where the money was coming from. The “special interests” mailer — which blasted Roebuck for the sorry state of Philadelphia’s public schools — was sent by a group billing itself as “Public Education Excellence.” Roebuck had never heard of the group, which state records show was created just weeks before the election. Still, it contributed $7,500 directly to Muhammad’s campaign, while spending $4,000 on its own mailings.
He then goes on to describe in detail the web of interlocking PACs that have contributed to legislative races in Pennsylvania and other states. It’s possible that we would see comparable efforts to oppose the repeal effort and court challenge vouchers face this year in New Hampshire.