The Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP) on Saturday will vote to ban campaign contributions from National Education Association (NEA) and the Alabama Education Association (AEA) for its school board and superintendent candidates.

Over the last election cycle, the AEA, through its AVOTE PAC, gave over $65,000 in contributions to state education board members alone.

The AEA is a labor union representing Alabama's public school teachers. In May, the organization took responsibility for and celebrated shutting down school choice initiatives that conservative Republicans fought to pass.

The rule would not apply to other state GOP candidates, even though AEA dumped $1.5 million into last year's election cycle, primarily to Republicans. 

Currently, ALGOP bylaws only strongly admonish candidates who accept donations from the NEA and AEA. The proposed standing rule change – introduced by ALGOP chairman John Wahl – would prohibit candidates for state school board, county school board and county superintendent from accepting these contributions.

The 500-person state executive committee will meet on Saturday to vote on the rule change and other resolutions.

The AEA downplayed its association with the NEA in response to the announcement. A statement from AEA executive director Amy Marlowe called Wahl "irresponsible."

"It is irresponsible of ALGOP Chairman John Wahl to make false accusations of the Alabama Education Association's standards and mission," she said. "The 'A' in AEA stands for Alabama – and we take pride in Alabama's values. Our voluntary membership comprises almost 90,000 Alabamians, with 72% identifying as conservative Republican voters."

"AEA prioritizes all education employees working to teach children in Alabama's local schools," she added. "Our focus is on education with no partisan perspective or fringe ideologies. We do not feed into the narrative of the baseless culture wars expressed in Wahl's press release – and we ask that he or other party leaders bring forth any person who has said they have been lobbied by AEA advocating for the concepts referenced in his release."

In response, Wahl said the AEA could disassociate from the NEA anytime.

"It's ironic that the AEA would take offense to my comments regarding woke policies, considering they are affiliates of the NEA, who make no secret of their promoting transgender and woke policies," Wahl said. "If they are serious about supporting Alabama values, they are free to disassociate from the NEA at any time. It's also important to remember that just a few weeks ago, they sent an update to their members promoting that a divisive concepts bill was defeated, and bragging about how they killed school choice, and opposed the Republican-led effort by the state legislature to cut the state grocery tax."

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