Isaac Stanley-Becker: Koch-backed group fuels opposition to school mask mandates, leaked letter shows
The Washington Post has the story of how one angry parent group is being helped along, Tea Party style, by the Koch network.
But the heartfelt appeal is not the product of a grass roots groundswell. Rather, it is a template drafted and circulated this week within a conservative network built on the scaffolding of the Koch fortune and the largesse of other GOP megadonors.
That makes the document, which was obtained by The Washington Post, the latest salvo in an inflamed debate over mask requirements in schools, which have become the epicenter of partisan battles over everything from gender identity to critical race theory. The political melee engulfing educators has complicated efforts to reopen schools safely during a new wave of the virus brought on by the highly transmissible delta variant.
The document offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a well-financed conservative campaign to undermine regulations that health authorities say are necessary to contain the coronavirus. The frustration of many parents who want a greater say is deeply felt, school superintendents say. But their anger is also being fueled by organized activists whose influence is ordinarily veiled.
The letter was made available on Tuesday to paying members of the Independent Women’s Network, a project of the Independent Women’s Forum and Independent Women’s Voice that markets itself as a “members-only platform that is free from censorship and cancellation.” Both are nonprofits once touted by their board chairman and CEO, Heather Higgins, as part of a unique tool in the “Republican conservative arsenal” because, “Being branded as neutral but actually having the people who know, know that you’re actually conservative puts us in a unique position.”