An activist group that launched with funding from billionaire Charles Koch joined forces with communists and other left-wing organizations last week to protest the parent rights group Moms for Liberty.
The National Parents Union joined forces with the Youth Communist League, ACT Up Philadelphia, and other organizations to protest Moms for Liberty’s summit in Philadelphia. The union and its partners claim that Moms For Liberty, which was formed to oppose coronavirus-related school lockdowns, is stoking a "culture war" through its opposition to left-wing classroom curricula related to critical race theory and transgender issues.
Tax filings show the National Parents Union was formed in 2020 with significant financial support from Koch and his network of philanthropies. That year, the Charles Koch Institute and Walton Family Foundation contributed $1 million to the VELA Education Fund to provide grants to parents and educators to deal with "Covid learning disruptions." The National Parents Union was one of four organizations to receive the grants, which were for between $5,000 and $25,000 to support "student learning" during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to tax filings, VELA Education Fund gave $700,000 to the National Parents Union in 2020, making up half of the union’s $1.4 million in revenue for that year. And VELA received roughly two-thirds of its funding that year from the Seminar Network, an organization formed by Charles Koch in 2002. According to tax records, the Seminar Network contributed $3,064,867 to the VELA Education Fund in 2020. Its revenues that year were $4,566,567.
Moms for Liberty has emerged as a leading critic of what it calls a left-wing agenda in America’s public schools. The group’s Philadelphia summit featured Republican presidential hopefuls Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy.
The National Parents Union and its partners denounced Moms for Liberty as "radical right-wing extremists," and blamed the group for supporting bans on books at schools across the country. One union member praised a sign at the rally that read "Fuck Christo-Fascism."
Moms for Liberty has landed in the crosshairs of other progressive groups over its activism. The Southern Poverty Law Center placed Moms for Liberty on its "hate map" last month, alongside neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations. Republican Sen. J.D. Vance (Ohio) blasted the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "garbage organization now dedicated to harassing groups that advocate for parents."
Charles Koch has in recent years funded causes aligned with the far-left. Koch and progressive billionaire George Soros fund the Quincy Institute, an isolationist think tank. Koch has also poured millions of dollars into the criminal justice reform movement.
A spokesman for the National Parents Union said the organization distributed all of the money received from the Charles Koch Institute to "organizations and families that supported student learning."
"National Parents Union has not received any other funding from the Charles Koch Institute," the spokesman said.