Landmark files Supplement to
2022 AFT IRS Complaint

Photo credits Julie Hunter via Creative Commons

Landmark Uncovers Millions More AFT Expenditures

Landmark Legal Foundation’s Supplement to its September 7, 2022, Complaint provides more evidence showing how the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) fails to report and pay taxes on general treasury expenditures made for political purposes.

Landmark has conducted new research into AFT’s publicly available disclosures and identified over $3,000,000 in expenditures made during the 2018 and 2020 election cycles that are not accounted for on AFT Solidarity’s disclosure reports.

These include:

$500,000 to House Majority PAC in 2018 for “Advocacy.”

AFT 500,000 to House Majority PAC

 $253,181 in 2018 to Resonance Campaigns for “Advocacy”

Resonance describes itself as a “communications firm with a mission to advance progressive candidates and policies.”

AFT Resonance Campaigns for Advocacy

Over $500,000 in 2020 in outlays to an event management
company that specializes in local, state, and national campaigns.

AFT Event management company also called Markam

Over $350,000 in 2020 on printed election materials

AFT Printed election materials also call Mosaic

Last September, Landmark submitted a complaint to the Tax Exempt, Government Entities (TEGE) Division of the IRS alleging that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) does not follow tax laws and regulations because it does not disclose political expenditures on its tax returns.  Landmark presented overwhelming evidence that AFT spends millions of dollars on political activities despite reporting that it does not engage in campaign related activities.

Landmark showed:

  • During election seasons, Randi Weingarten sends as many as 80 tweets per day (and up to 550 per week) advocating for the election or defeat of candidates for public office.
  • During the 2020 election cycle, AFT sponsored a bus tour that visited dozens of cities mobilizing the public to vote for political candidates. This tour featured political rallies for, among others Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
  • AFT coordinates its activities with political candidates.

Responding to these allegations, AFT stated that it “conducts its business through the appropriate accounts, including AFT Solidarity 527, and reports its activities extensively.” AFT continued, “We are fully transparent about what we spend and why.”

On their face, these and the other outlays itemized in Landmark’s Supplement appear to qualify as exempt function expenditures and thus trigger IRS reporting and taxation provisions. Yet, AFT (unlike sister unions like NEA and SEIU) reports on its tax returns that it does not engage in political activities. Big unions like AFT should not be given a pass to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

The IRS needs to investigate.

AFT Complaint supplement


In the 2016, 2018 and 2020 election cycles, leaders of the American Federation of Teachers launched significant efforts to elect candidates for public office. They toured the country to give political speeches, attend campaign rallies with candidates, and knock on doors and call voters to “get out the vote.” The ability to engage in political speech and debate is a cherished and fundamental right in the United States. But you still have to play by the rules. And for reasons we explain in our Complaint, it appears that the AFT did not follow the rules- specifically, the rules regulating political activity by tax-exempt organizations in the Internal Revenue Code.

The Tax Code and Union Political Activity

The tax code and IRS regulations set guardrails for what tax-exempt organizations can and can’t do. When a tax-exempt organization goes too far out of its lane, it might have to pay tax penalties or even lose its tax-exempt status. Unions like the AFT are allowed to engage in political activity, unlike charities and social welfare organizations. Unions can even set up their own PAC to give money to political parties and candidates. But there are still some restrictions on what unions can do under the tax code. Expenditures for political activity involve more than just cutting a check to a political campaign. For example, organizing a partisan get-out-the-vote rally on behalf of a candidate has associated costs, like printing literature, renting vehicles, and purchasing equipment and refreshments. All the direct and indirect costs to support a candidate for public office must be reported on the union or its affiliated PAC’s tax forms.

The expenses for political activity kept “in house” are considered indirect by the code and are not taxed. So, unions can set up and administer PACs, endorse candidates and organize get-out-the-vote drives and phone banks that target their own union members and families. And the associated costs with this indirect activity aren’t taxed. However, expenditures for direct costs of political activity, that is, activity directed beyond their membership to the general public, are taxable income to the organization and must be reported.

AFT’s Unreported Political Activity

We did not find any evidence that the costs associated with the AFT’s massive political efforts to elect Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and numerous congressional candidates were reported to the IRS. It looks like AFT drove a bus through the guardrails set up by the IRS for tax-exempt organizations. The IRS must investigate to determine whether the AFT owes taxes or put its tax-exempt status in jeopardy.

Landmark’s Complaint Alleging
AFT failed to Report
Political Expenditures



2021 Instructions for Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax

This the guidance the IRS provides to tax-exempt organizations like the AFT on how to complete their tax returns.


2021 Instructions for Schedule C (Form 990)

This is the guidance the IRS provides to tax-exempt organizations who spend money on political campaign activities.


2019 AFT Tax Return

This is a true and accurate copy of AFT’s publicly available tax return for July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020.


2018 AFT Tax Return

This is a true and accurate copy of AFT’s publicly available tax return for July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019.


2017 AFT Tax Return

This is a true and accurate copy of AFT’s publicly available tax return for July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.


2016 AFT Tax Return

This is a true and accurate copy of AFT’s publicly available tax return for July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.


AFT President Randi Weingarten Speaks at Democratic National Convention

This is a transcript of Randi Weingarten’s speech at the 2016 DNC convention.


AFT President Randi Weingarten campaigns in New Hampshire for Hillary Clinton

News alert evincing Randi Weingarten and Hillary Clinton attending political rallies in New Hampshire in 2016.


AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT-PA President Ted Krisch on Hillary Clinton’s Pennsylvania Primary Win.

AFT Press Release describing AFT’s political activities in Pennsylvania in 2016 in support of Hillary Clinton.


Michigan Democratic Women’s Caucus

Flyer of an event featuring AFT President Randi Weingarten speaking at a get-out-the-vote rally in 2016 in support of Hillary Clinton.


2016 AFT Political Activities on Twitter

A memo analyzing political tweets by AFT President Randi Weingarten in 2016 (also included are screenshots of tweets).


Democrats Give Funding Boost to South Carolina House Contender

News article describing AFT activities in support of candidate for U.S. House of Representatives.


“Educators, politician make pitches at Scott’s annual Labor Day cookout”

News article reporting on a speech given by AFT Randi Weingarten endorsing political candidates.


“AFSCME member rally to Get Out the Vote in Jacksonville”

News release and describing AFT political activities in Florida in 2018.


“Unions Rally to Boost Lamont”

News article describing AFT political activities in Connecticut in 2018


2018 AFT Political Activities on Twitter

A memo analyzing political tweets by AFT President Randi Weingarten in 2018 (also included are screenshots of tweets).


AFT Votes bus tour finishes with a flourish

Materials from AFT’s website describing the various political events from AFT 2020 bus tour.


AFT launches multistate get-out-the-vote bus tour

Materials from AFT’s website describing the purpose of the AFT 2020 bus tour.


2020 AFT Political Activities on Twitter

A memo analyzing political tweets by AFT President Randi Weingarten in 2020 (also included are screenshots of tweets).

Washington Examiner reports on Landmark’s Complaint



Click on images to expand

AFT Unreported
Political Activities


Between 2016 and 2020 AFT leadership, particularly Randi Weingarten, toured the country working to elect candidates who prioritize AFT’s radical agenda.  Landmark’s timeline gives the public a full picture of the extent to which AFT uses its considerable resources to engage in politics. 

Scroll below for details about the many political events sponsored by AFT!



February 2016:
Nashua, New Hampshire

AFT President Randi Weingarten campaigns in New Hampshire for Hillary Clinton


Randi Weingarten reportedly campaigns in New Hampshire on behalf of Hillary Clinton.  Ms. Weingarten attends a canvass kick-off event at Clinton’s Nashua campaign office and attends at get-out-the-vote rally at Manchester Community College.

The rally at Manchester Community College of nearly 1,000 reportedly included “educators and activists from scores of AFT and NEA locals.”


April 2016:

Then AFT Secretary-Treasurer Loretta Johnson campaigns in Maryland on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

In April, 2016 then AFT Secretary-Treasurer Loretta Johnson was “on the ground campaigning in Maryland for Hillary Clinton since the AFT’s endorsement last July.”  “Campaigning” reportedly included running phone banks advocating for the election of Hillary Clinton and going door-to-door to mobilize voters.  Ms. Johnson stated, “Thanks to the efforts of our members phone banking and knocking on doors, Hillary won big in Maryland, and we are very excited about that.”

Source:  “AFT President Randi Weingarten, AFT Secretary-Treasurer Loretta Johnson and AFT Maryland President Marietta English on Hillary Clinton’s Primary Win,”  via States News Service, April 26, 2016.

June 2016:
New Mexico and California


Randi Weingarten campaigns for Hillary Clinton in New Mexico and California.

July 25, 2016:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

AFT President Randi Weingarten addresses Democratic National Convention


In an address to the Democratic National Convention, AFT President Randi Weingarten calls for the election of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine for the offices of President and Vice President respectively.  She stated, “Thankfully we have a different choice [for President] and it’s a great one.  Hillary Clinton.”  She continued, “Hillary is the most qualified candidate to run for president in my lifetime!”  Ms. Weingarten concludes her remarks stating, “The choice couldn’t be clearer.  We must elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine!”

September 5, 2016:
Cleveland, Ohio

Randi Weingarten at
Labor Day Political Rally

Randi Weingarten speaks at a Labor Day rally in support of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.  The large crowd at a public rally does not appear to be limited to AFT membership or family members of AFT membership.  At the rally, Ms. Weingarten is wearing a shirt with the AFT logo combined with the Hillary for President logo.  She states, “Labor built America and the way labor rebuilds America is to go out and vote for Hillary and Tim and [Senate candidate] Ted Strickland!”

October 7. 2016:


AFT President Randi Weingarten appears at a get-out-the-vote rally with Gloria Steinem sponsored by the Michigan Democratic Women’s Caucus


June 3, 2017:
Columbia, South Carolina

AFT President Randi Weingarten campaigns for Democratic Candidate Archie Purnell

In 2017, in Columbia South Carolina, a special election was held to fill Mick Mulvaney’s congressional seat after he had resigned to take a position in the Trump White House.  Democrat candidate Archie Purnell ran for the vacant seat in a historically strong Republican district.  National Democrats rallied to support of Mr. Purnell.  According to the Huffington Post, Democrats designated this race part of the “Resistance Summer” and AFT President Randi Weingarten canvassed to help elect Mr. Purnell.  Daniel Marans, “Democrats Give Funding Boost To South Carolina House Contender.”  Huffington Post, June 6, 2017.

Canvasing reportedly included Ms. Weingarten going “door to door” to encourage individuals to vote for Mr. Purnell.

Campaigning door to door in support of a congressional candidate clearly amounts to political activity.  This event – above all others – shows how AFT puts politics ahead of students.  Here, AFT’s top official is participating in the Democrat National Committee’s “Resistance Summer” by devoting time and resources to a congressional race.


September 4, 2017:
Newport News, Virginia

Randi Weingarten Attends Labor Day
Rally in Support of Democrat Candidates

AFT President Randi Weingarten appears at a Labor Day rally in Newport News Virginia to elicit support for Democrat candidates running for Virginia assembly, Virginia Governor & Lt. Governor.  Ms. Weingarten appeared at the rally of approximately 1,00 and gave an “impassioned speech.”  Democratic politicians including then candidates Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring also gave speeches.   Each of the speakers, “worked to drum up supporters in the crown with applause and pitches to come our and vote in November.” 

Source: “Educators, politicians make pitches at Scott’s annual Labor Day cookout.”  Jane Hammond, Newport News Daily Press, September 4, 2017. 


Oct & Nov 2018:

AFT President Randi Weingarten rallies in support of Democrat candidates Andrew Gillum and Chris King


At a rally with AFSCME membership held on October 15, 208, Ms. Weingarten along with Florida Senator Audrey Gibson “implored folks to do everything they can to ensure that candidates who support working families win this election.”  Activities reportedly included phone banks and door knocking to “get out the vote”.

Right before election day, Ms. Weingarten reportedly appeared at another get out the vote rally with Chris King, the Democrat Lieutenant Governor candidate.


“AFSCME members rally to Get Out the Vote in Jacksonville.”  AFSCME Press Release, October 15, 2018.

“The Last Weekend: Where will candidates scramble for votes in final stretch?”  Jacob Ogles,, Nov. 3, 2018.

November 2, 2018:
New Britain, Connecticut

Randi Weingarten campaigns in Connecticut for gubernatorial nominee Ned Lamont


Democrats running for office rallied with Randi Weingarten and other AFT leadership.
Source: “Unions Rally To Boost Lamont” via CT News Junkie


May 9, 2020:
New Hampshire

Democratic National Convention


Randi Weingarten gives keynote address at New Hampshire’s DNC convention where she advocates for the defeat of President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Link to CSPAN video here

Bus Tour 2020

In late 2020, AFT launched a nationwide GOTV bust tour to “Stop Trump, Elect Biden and Harris.”  Beginning on September 30, in California the tour included 24 stops where AFT leadership advocated for the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to President and Vice President respectively.

Weingarten was joined on the bus tour by AFT Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram and AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus.  According to Weingarten, during the tour AFT leadership “Well be talking to our colleagues, our friends and families, and others in our communities about the stakes in this election and about the choices.”

Key Dates/Events on 2020 Bus Tour:

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020:

Los Angeles, California


Tour kicks off “At the first stop in Los Angeles, a caravan of members of United Teachers Los Angeles drove to a Chevron refinery for a rally… … All three top AFT officers joined the Los Angeles teachers: AFT President Randi Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick C. Ingram and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus. Together they urged UTLA members and their allies to support both Proposition 15 and the Biden-Harris presidential ticket.”

Source: : “AFT Votes bus tour is ridin’ with Biden” 


October 1-3, 2020:

Las Vegas, Nevada, & Denver, Colorado

Tour stops in Las Vegas and Denver

In Las Vegas AFT officers went door to door with members of the Culinary Workers Union, “urging Nevadans to vote blue, starting at the top of the ticket with Joe Biden for president and Kamala Harris for vice president.”
Source: “AFT Votes bus tour is ridin’ with Biden.”

In Denver, AFT leadership “dropped in to say hello to workers at a distribution center for Joe Biden swag” and conducted a “literature drop for candidates who care about working people.”
Source: “AFT Votes bus tour is ridin’ with Biden.”

October 6, 2020:

Kansas City, MO

Tour stops in Kansas City.

In Kansas, AFT hosted a “lawn chair chat” with Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate Dr. Barbara Bollier. AFT President Weingarten stated, in support of Dr. Bollier, “I can’t wait until November 3 because I want to see Dr. Bollier in the Senate.”
Source: “AFT Votes bus tour is ridin’ with Biden.”

October 9-10, 2020:

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Tour stops in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.

In Minnesota, AFT President Randi Weingarten joined the Minnesota governor along with two members of Congress to urge voters to reject Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden. Weingarten stated, “This is the most consequential election of our lifetime.”

Source: “Weingarten: ‘It’s our moment, but we have to get out and vote’.”

October 10, 2020:

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

photo credit AFGE via Creative Commons

Tour stops in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

October 13, 2020:

Schaumburg, Illinois

Tour stops in Schaumburg, Illinois.

October 14, 2020:

Hammond/Gary, Indiana

Tour stops in Hammond/Gary, Indiana.

Source: “National teacher union leader stumps for Gary tax referendum”
via Chicago Tribune

October 15, 2020:

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Tour stops in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

October 16, 2020:

Lansing/Dearborn, Michigan

Tour stops in Lansing/Dearborn, Michigan.

October 17, 2020:

Lansing/Detroit, Michigan

Rally featured U.S. Senator Gary Peters and other labor union activists.

October 19, 2020:

Toledo/Cleveland, Ohio


Throughout the tour, AFT leadership “urged support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

Source: “To win, we need to get people to the polls” via

October 21, 2020:

Cleveland, Ohio

Tour stops in Cleveland, Ohio.

October 22, 2020:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tour stops in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

October 23, 2020:

Scranton, Pennsylvania

Tour stops in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

October 24, 2020:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Tour stops in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Source: “#AFTvotes bus rolls through Pennsylvania” via AFT Facebook


October 24, 2020:

New Jersey


AFT Votes bus tour “joined congressional candidate Amy Kennedy for visits at two ballot drop boxes in South Jersey.”


October 27, 2020:

Raleigh, North Carolina

In Raleigh, AFT leaders “met with U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham and joined state Attorney General Josh Stein.  Later in the afternoon the AFT bus pulled up in front of the state Capitol for a news conference and car caravan with the Rev. William J. Barber II, Melvin Montford of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and other community leaders.”

Source: “#AFTvotes Bus stops at North Carolina” via AFT Facebook


October 28, 2020:

Atlanta, Georgia

AFT leaders met with U.S. Representative Lucy McBath and tour participants “turned their attention to the state’s two U.S. Senate seats up for grabs”.

Source: “#AFTvotes Bus Stops in Atlanta, GA to GOTV” via AFT Facebook


October 29, 2020:

Gainesville, Florida

Tour stops in Gainesville, Florida.

October 30, 2020:

Tampa, Kissimmee, and Sanford, Florida

Tour stops in Tampa, Kissimmee, and Sanford, Florida.

In Kissimmee, Randi Weingarten met with activists from Voces Unidas and the NAACP.


October 30, 2020:

Coral Gables, Florida

Tour stops in Coral Gables, Florida.

U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala stated at a rally, “We’re the Democrats.  We’re the party that believes in the American dream and our Dreamers.  We’re the party that believes in equal rights for everyone.  We’re the party that believes in American heroes: our teachers, our nurses, our essential workers.  And we have a message for Donald Trump: Mr. President, you’re fired!”

Source: AFT Facebook

November 1, 2020:

Miami, Florida

Tour stops in Miami, Florida.

Wide variety of speakers in a “Souls to the Polls” rally with political activists from AFSCME and A. Philip Randolph Institute.


photo credit AFGE via Creative Commons

At the end of the tour, RW sent a letter to AFT activists across the country stating:

“I’ve seen firsthand the incredible work you have done to  defeat Donald Trump and elect pro-public education, pro-worker, pro-healthcare, pro-climate, pro-justice, pro-democracy candidates starting with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris…”

Landmark tasked an experienced Certified Public Accountant (CPA), who specializes in accounting and compliance services for political campaigns and political organizations, with reviewing our AFT Complaint.  After examining AFT’s publicly available financial disclosure records, this individual concluded that, “The Federation and specifically its Chair, Ms. Weingarten are visible political advocates of many candidates and causes across the country with little or no reporting available to the public pertaining to the political activity.”  The CPA review included an examination of AFT’s financial statements, its tax returns and AFT’s FEC filings.

CPA Letter


We are truly facing existential threats to our individual rights and liberties, the Constitution, and our national character. If unchallenged, this assault on our very way of life will ruin our great nation. With your financial and moral support, Landmark is not going to let that happen without a fight. Will you join us?