Monday, October 29, 2012

Just How Many Times Did Tony Bennett Pack His Suitcases Last Year?

One of the few times Tony Bennett has been transparent might have been unintended. Bennett admitted he believes in appointing, not electing, the position of State Superintendent.  Perhaps this statement reveals more about his questionable political dealings than he realizes.  

Many Hoosiers are concerned over the huge sums of out-of-state money Tony Bennett has accepted from entities aimed at privatizing education. In the race for State Superintendent office this year, challenger Glenda Ritz understands Bennett’s campaign resources are not about improving public education. Bennett’s office attempts to defend itself by replying,
 "There are a lot of people in Indiana and around the country who are encouraged by the progress Dr. Bennett has made to improve education for Indiana's students. We welcome that support."

From Bennett’s official statements, it seems he would like Hoosiers to believe the rest of the nation is looking admiringly at Indiana.  He does not want anyone to remember that he spent the better portion of 2011-2012 traveling the country to speak at conferences in states from coast to coast.  Not surprisingly, donors in these states have contributed richly to his campaign.

During a nine month period last year, Bennett made at least fifteen out-of-state trips, many not reported publicly. As election time nears, Journal Gazette writer Karen Francisco’s articles, “On the Road Again, and, “More Travels With Tony Bennett” are “must revisit” pieces to read in their entirety. 

The following list contains the dates Bennett’s traveled, state or region visited, and the dollar amount in contributions from that state or region.

Date:  May 17, 2011
Location:  Ohio
Donations totals from Ohio: $7,400.00

Date:  June 2, August 17, November 15, 2011
Locations:  Washington DC, Massachusetts, Washington DC
Donations totals from East Coast: $178,244.97

New York $124,434.97
Virginia $17,810.00
North Carolina $12,150.00
Connecticut $11,600.00
Washington D.C. $10,250.00
Pennsylvania $7,400.00
Maryland $3,750.00
New Jersey $3,000.00

Date:  September 14, December 12, 2011
Location:  Michigan
Donations from Michigan:  $18,550.00

Date:  September 15, 2011
Location:  Kansas
Donations from Kansas: $150.00
All of the major education stakeholders in Kansas, including the leadership of the state department of education, declined to participate in a conference Bennett attended there.)

Date:  October 13-14, 2011
Location:  California
Donations from California  $72,023.00

Date:  October 25, 2011
Location:  Florida
Donations from Florida: $45,019.29

Date:  November 2, 2011
Location:  Utah
Donations from Utah: $6,000.00

Date:  December 1-2, 2011
Location: Arizona
Donations from Arizona:  $250.00

Date:  January 5-6, 2012
Location:  Oklahoma
Donations from Oklahoma: $5,000.00

Date:  January 30, 2012
Location Louisiana
Donations from Louisiana: $10,523.38

Other notable donations
Arkansas: $200,000.00 (from the Walton Foundation, who sponsored some of Bennett's travels)
Illinois $60,000.00
Wisconsin $50,000.00

Interactive Map: Campaign Contributions to Tony Bennett Since 2008
(Bring this map up side by side with the one above outlining Bennett's travels.)

Hoosier Voters, this November 6th,  we need to be sure Tony Bennett packs his suitcases one more time.  Elect Glenda Ritz Superintendent of PUBLIC instruction.

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