A newspaper in Arizona is criticizing the Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy, a leftwing group that the newspaper, The Arizona Republic, has called “a Democratic think-tank.” CMD, as the group is known, a week ago published a report on federal tax dollars that support non-public charter schools across the country. The group claimed in the report that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) used his office to facilitate secret meetings with charter school supporters and worked to divert more taxpayer money to the schools.
According to The Republic, the CMD report included this paragraph:
“Emails obtained by CMD from Gov. Ducey’s office reveal that he (and his predecessor) helped propel a secret ‘School Finance Reform Team’ comprised of Republican lawmakers, rightwing think tanks, ‘a solid representation from Charters,’ and Jeremy Calles, president-elect of the ‘Arizona Association of School Business Officials.’ The stated goal was for everyone on the school reform team to use their ‘different contacts to help get …legislation,’ which would effectively divert more money from public schools to charter school coffers passed.”
But the final version of the report, available on CMD’s website here, doesn’t mention secret meetings or e-mails obtained via records requests with the Arizona governor’s office. That’s because the e-mails CMD alleged to be proof of a secret cabal didn’t actually show anything suspicious.
“Turns out, they [the e-mails] show nothing of the kind,” the paper reported. The supposedly suspicious group was actually comprised of both charter and public school officials who were pushing for school funding reform and asking the governor’s office to be more involved in the reform discussions.
CMD issued an apology and corrected the publicly available report, but not until it was confronted about its mistake by The Republic.
This isn’t the first time the CMD has botched a story. A year ago CMD lied about why some companies stopped sponsoring the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, as the group is better known.