Left-leaning groups slammed former CNN host Campbell Brown this morning for having once registered to vote as a Republican, further attempting to discredit the charter school activist as she brings a lawsuit against teacher tenure in New York.
The Alliance for Quality Education and New York Communities for Change–two left-leaning organizations with ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio and labor groups like the United Federation of Teachers–said Ms. Brown, who has touted her political independence, had been “caught in a lie” for telling critics on Twitter that she is not a Republican.
“The Real Campbell Brown has trouble telling the truth, and now she’s been caught in another lie. She’s a Republican with close ties to conservative Wall Street leaders, and has zero credibility on education. In my more than 10 years of advocating for equitable education funding, she’s been silent. I’ve never heard her fight to improve public schools or help vulnerable kids,” Zakiyah Ansari, advocacy director of the Alliance for Quality Education, told the Observer.
The two groups are behind the “Real Campbell Brown” campaign, an aggressive operation aimed at highlighting Ms. Campbell’s ties to conservative causes in an otherwise liberal, overwhelmingly Democratic city.
Ms. Brown, who the city Board of Elections database shows had registered as a Republican, said through a spokesperson that she is a “lifelong independent” who has registered as a Democrat and a Republican in the past to vote in city primaries, and has given political donations only to Democrats. The spokesperson also said Ms. Brown is now not registered in a party, a fact that could not be immediately and independently confirmed.
Ms. Brown’s reps also hit Ms. Ansari for defending teacher tenure, which activists like Ms. Brown argue protects failing teachers at the expense of students. Ms. Brown hopes to weaken teacher tenure laws here in the wake of a successful lawsuit that could dismantle teacher tenure in California if the court decision survives an appeal.
(Defenders of teacher tenure contend that the hard-won protections are needed to attract good teachers and guard against against unfair, politically-motivated firings.)
“More inaccurate personal smears from a group bought and paid for by the United Federation of Teachers,” said Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for Ms. Brown. “Will Ms. Ansari ever address the public school parents who are suing the state to end New York’s broken tenure policy? Of course not, because she doesn’t have an answer.”
The city’s Board of Elections did not return requests for comment.