The NEA and Its Federal Charter By: Charles W. Baird


The National Education Association (NEA). Isn’t that an association of teachers and administrators whose primary purpose is to provide an excellent education to children; and to serve the best interests of parents, teachers and administrators entrusted with the education and care of those children? Professor Charles Baird, in his article, "The NEA And Its Federal Charter," shows that even from its inception the NEA has not had such a noble purpose. Baird masterfully exposes the NEA for what it really is, namely, a labor union with a federal charter and a political agenda that is often at cross-purposes with parents, teachers, administrators and a good education. 

The NEA is the only labor union that has a Federal charter. Professor Baird discusses Federal charters, identifying the types of organizations that may be granted a Federal charter, and the requirements that must be met for consideration. He demonstrates that today’s NEA does not meet any of the requirements for a Federal charter, and has twice been required by the IRS to change its tax-filing status to reflect its increasing politically activity. Even so, no Congress or Administration has had the courage to revoke the NEA’s charter. 

Professor Baird addresses a problem unique to the emergence of public sector unions; that is, union officials controlling public policy and public pay. As he says, "Public pay is public policy." So why are union officials controlling such decisions, instead of parents, and school and public officials? 

As he explores the history of the NEA, Professor Baird shows that their purpose from the beginning was to control public education by controlling the requirements, training, hiring and firing of teachers. During the past few decades, the effort to control (facilitated by forced dues) was expanded to national public policy issues and elections. An overview of the NEA’s aggressive political agenda is given in the Conclusion

Is the NEA partisan? Baird documents its giving patterns which reveal that the NEA, using compulsory union dues, supports political candidates that 40% of its members oppose. That’s why Baird and others call the NEA the "National Extortion Association." 

Like an airplane just a few degrees off course, the NEA may have had good intentions when it began, but is now so far off course as to have lost sight of those whom it ought to be serving. It can no longer be considered a public service association worthy of a Federal charter or of its influence upon government officials and departments of education. Congress and the Administration should revoke the NEA’s Federal charter. 

Read Baird’s article and you’ll understand why. 

The APPENDIX contains a chronological list of every organization (349 to be exact) granted a Federal charter between 1791 to 1974. There is no other organization among them like the NEA which is a labor union or which conducts such extensive political activities. 

The charts below compare NEA membership to the total number of school teachers for each state, from 1965 to 1995. I’m sure you will find them quite interesting. 

David Y. Denholm

June 1997



The NEA 
and Its 
Federal Charter 
Charles W. Baird

Professor of Economics and
Director, The Smith Center for Private Enterprise Studies
California State University, Hayward, CA 94542


The National Education Association (NEA) is the only labor union in the United States with a federal charter, and the only labor union with its own cabinet-level federal department—the U.S. Department of Education. As a matter of simple equity, both these anomalies ought to be corrected. Even so, herein I address only the first anomaly. 

In section I below, I briefly outline the history of federal charters in general and then examine the NEA’s charter (section II). In sections III through V, I examine the NEA’s first hundred years and then trace its evolution from a professional organization, primarily interested in promoting the education of the general public, into what Forbes magazine (1993) called the "National Extortion Association"—a bare-knuckles labor union eager to use fraud and coercion to serve no interests but its own. In brief, if the NEA in 1906 (the year of its charter) looked like the NEA of today, its charter would never have been granted. In section VI, I compare the political activity of today’s NEA with that of other private organizations holding federal charters, and with other organizations upon which Congress has conferred real and personal property tax exemptions. Again, the NEA is perversely unique. I conclude in section VII with some observations concerning the NEA's three-tiered national legislative agenda. 

I. Federal Charters

The United States Congress has chartered 351 corporations (see appendix for chronological list compiled by the Humanities and Social Sciences Division of the Library of Congress). The first charter, issued for the Bank of the United States, was granted on February 25, 1791. The last one was granted for the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation on September 2, 1974. Federally chartered organizations fall into three broad categories:

1. corporations carrying out some federal governmental or public function; 

2. private non-profit corporations which "exist for patriotic, civic-improvement, charitable, or educational purposes" (Hearings, 1988, p. 86); and 

3. ordinary corporations organized in the District of Columbia (e.g., banks, insurance companies and the National Cathedral). 

The Bank of the United States, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation are in the first category. The NEA, the American Red Cross and the Boy Scouts of America are in the second category—the only one relevant to this paper. In general, such organizations include veterans organizations, fraternal groups, educational institutions and various benevolent societies. 

Not all of the corporations that were granted federal charters still exist. Their charters expired for one of the following reasons: 

  • they became defunct (e.g., the Bank of the United States), 
  • the purposes for which they were created were fulfilled (e.g., the Washington Canal Company), 
  • their membership passed away (e.g., the Grand Army of the Republic, whose members were veterans of the Civil War), or 
  • their charters were revoked (e.g., the National German-American Alliance of the U.S.A., whose charter was revoked in 1918). 

Table 1 below lists 24 extant federally-chartered organizations that, in my judgment, closely resemble the NEA as it was when it received its 1906 federal charter. Whether one examines this list or any other list of federally-chartered organizations, there is one unmistakable distinction between the NEA and all others (in the second category); that is, none other is so deeply immersed in partisan political activity or so aggressively pursuing an agenda that is at the expense of the general public. 

Table 1

Extant Federally Chartered Organizations  
Resembling the 1906 NEA

Organization Year of Federal Charter
American Chemical Society 1937
American Historical Association 1889
American Legion 1919
American Red Cross 1900
American Social Science Association 1899
American Society of International Law 1950
American Symphony Orchestra League 1962
Big Brothers/Big Sisiters of America 1958
Board for Fundamental Education 1954
Boy Scouts of America 1916
Boys Clubs of America 1956
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 1906
Corporation for Public Broadcasting 1967
Daughters of the American Revolution 1896
Future Farmers of America 1950
Girl Scouts of America 1950
Little League Baseball 1964
Medical Society for the District of Colombia 1819
National Academy of Sciences 1863
National Conference on Citizenship 1953
National Fund for Medical Education 1954
National Music Council 1956
United States Olympic Association 1950

There is no express power in the Constitution that gives Congress the authority to issue federal charters. However, Article I, Section 8 grants Congress the authority "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution" all the powers that are expressly granted to Congress. Federal charters are granted under this "necessary and proper" clause. However, since the contemporary NEA is principally engaged in securing for its members the most pay for the least possible educational performance, and for itself increasing institutional wealth and permanent political power, it is difficult to see how the NEA’s charter is "necessary and proper" for Congress to execute any of its constitutional duties. 

Prior to 1969, Congress granted federal charters on a case-by-case basis. They never formulated standard criteria for federal incorporation until 1969 when subcommittees of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees jointly agreed to a set of "Standards For the Granting of Federal Charters." Even though the new standards don't have the force of law, any private organization seeking a federal charter must meet the five minimum standards established by the subcommittees. The standards were given in the joint subcommittee report as follows: 

Any private organization petitioning Congress for the purpose of obtaining the status of a Federal corporation shall be required to demonstrate to the satisfaction of Congress that it is an organization which is —
  1. operating under a charter granted by a State or the District of Columbia and that it has so operated for a sufficient length of time to demonstrate its permanence and that its activities are clearly in the public interest; 
  2. of such unique character that chartering by the Congress as a Federal corporation is the only appropriate form of incorporation; 
  3. organized and operated solely for charitable, literary, educational, scientific, patriotic, or civic improvement purposes;
  4. organized and operated as a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization; and
  5. organized and operated for the primary purpose of conducting activities which are of national scope and responsive to a national need, which need cannot be met except upon the issuance of a Federal charter. 

Notwithstanding that in 1906 the NEA probably met all five minimum standards, today it does not meet any of them. The NEA is not organized and operated for educational, let alone charitable or civic improvement purposes. It blocks any meaningful educational reform, and certainly does not act in the public interest. It is neither nonprofit nor nonpartisan, and it meets no national need except its own. If the only appropriate form of incorporation of the NEA is federal, why doesn’t the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have a federal charter? 

In 1988 Congress considered H.R. 3897, a proposed "Federal Charter Act" which would have authorized the Attorney General of the United States "to grant, oversee, and terminate Federal Charters." The bill never became law. Section 2(c)(9)(A) would have required that any organization receiving a federal charter "may not contribute to, support, or otherwise participate in any political activity or attempt in any manner to influence legislation." Although this restriction would have applied only to newly-chartered organizations, it is again clear that the NEA, in its present form, would have been ineligible for a federal charter under the proposed 1988 legislation. 

H.R. 3897 was not intended as an attack on the NEA, for it was introduced by Barney Frank (D-MA) and Howard Berman (D-CA) who are among the NEA’s best friends in the House of Representatives. There is no reference to the NEA in the subcommittee hearings, which were published under the title, "Granting Federal Charters." The NEA apparently was not concerned about the legislation because it did not endanger its monopoly as a federally-chartered partisan organization. 

However, Section 2(a)(2) of the bill would have required the Attorney General to "maintain a current list of all organizations granted Federal charters before or after the enactment of this Act ... in order to ensure that such organizations are complying with the terms of their respective charters." Moreover, the Attorney General "shall terminate the Federal charter of any organization that is not in compliance with the terms of that charter...." Let us see what the NEA’s federal charter says. 

II. The NEA’s Charter

In 1906 Congress enacted H.R. 10501, a bill to incorporate the National Education Association of the United States. President Teddy Roosevelt signed the bill into law on June 30, 1906. In 1937 Congress enacted S.709, a bill to amend the 1906 charter to allow the NEA to make changes in its designation of offices and committees with bylaw changes rather than having to go back to Congress. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the amendments into law on June 14, 1937. The NEA charter as amended is published annually in the NEA’s Handbook.

Prior to the 1960s, teachers were grossly underpaid, but were hard-working professionals dedicated to the welfare of their students. Section 2 of the NEA charter stipulates, 

That the purpose and objects of the said corporation shall be to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of education in the United States. 

Whatever the NEA did in the past, since the 1960s it has not elevated the character of the profession of teaching in the United States. The NEA has gradually transformed most teachers in its thrall into overpaid, self-serving, seekers of political favors dedicated exclusively to their own interest. Far from promoting the cause of American education, the NEA has presided over the near collapse of educational standards and educational performance throughout the United States. 

Section 4 of the charter states that the NEA’s real property in the District of Columbia, 

and all personal property and funds of the corporation held, used, or invested for educational purposes aforesaid, or to produce income to be used for such purposes, shall be exempt from taxation. 

While the AFT has a tax exemption for funds and income used for educational purposes, among labor unions only the NEA has a federally-granted exemption from real and personal property taxes in the District of Columbia. Forbesmagazine has estimated that this property tax exemption is worth approximately $2 million annually. That amounts to about one-half of NEA’s Political Action Committee [NEA-PAC] spending (Forbes, February 13, 1995, p. 127). 

The 1906 charter was not passed without dissent. Its chief opponent was Congressman Sullivan from Massachusetts who perceived even then that the NEA’s principal goal was to centralize control of education in the hands of a few national bureaucrats at the expense of local teachers. At its chartering, the NEA was predominately composed of administrators of prestigious schools, and of college and university presidents, rather than classroom teachers. According to Congressman Sullivan: 

[I]n the hands of ... five trustees are to be placed the moneys of the teachers of the United States and the control in a large measure of the progress of education itself in the United States.... Let me tell you the powers of the national council under this charter. The national council shall have for its object the consideration and discussion of educational questions of public and professional interest.... [This] means that the discussion of the leading educational questions before the country will be confined practically to the channel which the national council of education prescribes.... It shall also decide suitable subjects for investigation and research and a recommendation of the amount of appropriation that shall be made for such purposes. Not only will they determine the scope of the discussion of questions relating to education, but if research must be made they have the power to give or withhold appropriations in the execution of that design. 

[T]he teachers are voiceless; they have no heads of colleges to speak for them; they have no presidents of universities to lend the prestige of their great names to influence the judgment and action of Members of this House. They are voiceless because they ... are dependent on the goodwill of the superintendents of education over this land, of the supervisors, who are controlled by the leading educators, and while a great many of them protest against this charter they do it silently. They dare not do it publicly for fear of incurring the displeasure of the men who sit in power and judgment over them, the supervisors and superintendents of education in the several cities and towns of the land (Congressional Record, April 2, 1906, p. 4620). 

Notwithstanding Congressman Sullivan’s objections, H.R. 10501 easily passed both houses of Congress. An overwhelming majority of Congress viewed the federal charter as a nearly costless means of promoting the noble cause of education. Member after member asserted that the federal charter would do nothing more than attach the prestige, not the power, of the federal government to the important task of educating the general public. 

The 1937 amendments to the charter were totally unopposed in Congress. They were seen as nothing more than pragmatic procedural changes with no substantive consequences. Obviously they were not. I doubt that the NEA could have redefined itself as drastically as it did in the 1960s and 1970s if every change required congressional approval. No one at that time, not even the leaders of the NEA, could have imagined what the NEA was to become. 

III. The NEA’s First Hundred Years

The NEA was founded in Philadelphia in 1857 as The National Teachers’ Association (NTA). The founding meeting was called by the presidents of ten state teachers associations who wrote, 

We cordially extend this invitation to all practical teachers ... who are willing to unite in a general effort to promote the general welfare of our country by concentrating the wisdom and power of numerous minds, and distributing among all the accumulated experiences of all; who are ready to devote their energies and their means to advance the dignity, respectability, and usefulness of their calling; and who, in fine, believe that the time has come when the teachers of the nation should gather into one great educational brotherhood (Wesley, p. 21).

The founders were following the model of other professional associations. Doctors and lawyers had national organizations that promoted their endeavors; teachers thought they ought to do the same. In its first decade, the NTA was indeed a "brotherhood," for women were not admitted until 1866 (West, p. 2). 

The NTA was not a "tea and crumpets" society from the very start. [That term was used by Don Cameron, the NEA’s current executive director, to disparage the old NEA (Forbes , 1993, p. 81)]. Like other professional organizations, it was formed primarily to promote the economic interests of its members while appearing to promote the public interest. The founding meeting lasted only one day. William Russell, a teacher, writer and editor from Philadelphia, was scheduled to give an address that evening. He was prevented from doing so by illness, but someone else read his speech, titled, "The Professional Organization of the Teachers of the United States," which was summarized in these words: 

The teachers themselves should pass upon the qualifications of applicants for admission to the profession. Let a teachers’ association receive a charter from the state and proceed, without further authorization, to examine and pass upon applicants for membership. It is up to the association itself to issue certificates of membership, which will also serve as legal evidence of competency to teach. That is all there is to it. Let teachers claim the right, set up proper standards, and assume the responsibility of admitting and rejecting candidates; the state and public will quickly, gladly, and appreciatively accept such an assumption of responsibility by the teaching profession (Wesley, p. 23).

To an economist, this is nothing other than a call to set up barriers to entry into a profession. Restricting the supply of practitioners while increasing the demand for their services is a time-honored way to increase practitioner incomes. Professionalization of an occupation does both. Supply is restricted on the grounds that the public (supposedly) must be protected from low quality and fraudulent purveyors. Demand is promoted by selling the idea that professionals, because they are professionals, provide valuable services. 

The true objectives of the NEA, especially for the past 30 years, were clearly stated by Sam Lambert when he became Executive Secretary of the NEA. In his 1967 inaugural address he predicted:

  • NEA will become a political power second to no other special interest group....

  • NEA will have more and more to say about how a teacher is educated, whether he should be admitted to the profession, and depending on his behavior and ability whether he should stay in the profession ... (Blumenfeld, p. 161). 

    This may appear no different from what William Russell preached in 1857. But it is very different indeed. First, in 1967 the NEA became a labor union; public school officials, in increasing numbers, had to bargain in good faith with union officials. Unlike all other professional organizations (who may lobby public officials), only labor unions can, by force of law, compel public officials to listen to and compromise with them. 

    Second, in 1969 the president of the NEA, George Fischer, reiterated the NEA’s plan to regulate entry and exit into the teaching profession. By that time it also became clear that, unlike most professional organizations, the NEA had a hard-left ideological agenda that it wished to impose on teachers and students alike. Other professional organizations try to control entry and exit for primarily economic reasons. Using entry and exit controls to impose an ideological agenda on children was no part of William Russell’s intent in 1857. 

    One political privilege the NTA sought from the beginning was "rent-seeking." Rent-seeking is the process of attempting to get government officials to pass laws and regulations that protect an individual or organization from ordinary competition in open markets, and thus have the effect of increasing the income or granting special privileges to them. Pursuing legal entry and exit regulations is one form of rent-seeking. Pursuing government subsidies is another. Rent-seeking is best done through a government agency set up to specialize in the activities of the rent-seeker. The bureaucrats that run the agency then have interests in common with the rent-seeker. The better the rent-seeker is served, the more secure the government agency and its jobs. The specialist government agency becomes a lobbyist for the rent-seeker. The NTA’s rent-seeking came to fruition in 1867 when President Andrew Johnson signed legislation to create the first federal Office of Education (West, p. 162). 

    In 1870 the NTA joined with the National Association of School Superintendents and the American Normal School Association to form the National Education Association. (From 1886 to 1906, the association's name was the National Educational Association.) 

    The top two legislative goals of the NEA in its first one hundred years (1857-1957) were as follows:

    • the creation of a separate federal Department of Education headed by a cabinet officer; and 
    • general [federal] support for schools administered by the states without federal controls (West, p. 16). 
    The first goal was not achieved until 1979 when President Jimmy Carter created the U.S. Department of Education. The second goal is impossible. Federal money without federal controls is like a vegetarian tiger; there is no such thing. The NEA received federal support for education in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And, sure enough, with federal money came federal control. Today’s NEA doesn’t mind the federal control because it (the NEA) controls the controllers. From 1980 (after the Department was formed) through 1996 the U.S. Department of Education spent $175 billion on elementary and secondary education (Olson, p. 1). 

    Notwithstanding its "rent-seeking" objectives, one of the NEA’s principal goals in its first 100 years was to improve American education. For example, in 1918 the NEA’s Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education published its Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education. The seven cardinal principles (or objectives) were health, basic skills, home membership, vocations, citizenship, worthy use of leisure, and character (Wesley, p. 76). The inclusion of "home membership" and "character" seem especially foreign to the principles of today’s NEA. In 1918, home membership referred to proper nuclear family relations. Today, the nuclear family is only one of many alternative lifestyles acceptable to the NEA; what is proper to them depends on circumstances and personal preferences. In 1918, character referred to moral character; that is, being trustworthy, truthful, self-disciplined, and respectful of the rights of others. In contrast, many in today’s NEA think that the only act that is always immoral is crossing a picket line.

    IV. The NEA Becomes a Labor Union

    The NEA’s transformation from an ordinary professional organization into what some have called the "National Extortion Association" began in the 1960s. By way of background, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935 did not cover public employees because the four cardinal principles of NLRA unionism (i.e., exclusive representation, union security, mandatory good faith bargaining and the right to strike) were considered inappropriate in government employment. 

    Exclusive representation means that if a majority (50% + 1) of an employer’s workers vote in favor of being represented by a particular labor union for purposes of collective bargaining on wages, salaries and other terms or conditions of employment, then all workers who were eligible to vote must accept the representation services of the union supported by the majority. The winning union is certified as the exclusive bargaining agent for all the workers, even though many individual workers may prefer to be represented by another union or no union at all. 

    Union security means that all workers who are represented by an exclusive bargaining agent must either join that union, or at least pay dues or fees to that union as a condition of continued employment. 

    Mandatory good faith bargaining means that the employer must bargain, and compromise, with the exclusive bargaining agent. 

    The right to strike means that the exclusive bargaining agent (the union) can withhold the labor services of the workers it represents and legally set up picket lines to try to prevent customers, suppliers, and replacement workers from doing business with the employer who is the strike target. In most other contexts, picketing is considered a form of trespass. 

    Many view public employee unionism as a challenge to the sovereignty of governments. While private employee unionism empowers a private group (a union) to do battle with another private group (an employer), public employee unionism empowers a private group (a union) to do battle with a government. Moreover, the determination of wages, salaries and other terms or conditions of work in the public sector is a matter of public policy. Public pay is public policy! 

    Until recently, most thought it inappropriate for government agencies to allow private groups to share equally in determining public policy, especially if it would force the government to act under the rules of mandatory good faith bargaining. Furthermore, in the private sector, a union and the management it bargains with are on opposite sides of the bargaining table. Money comes to both from customers, but customers can choose to do business elsewhere. Therefore, management is always interested in minimizing costs. In contrast, in government employment a union and a government employing agency are on the same side of the bargaining table—they are both interested in getting more money out of taxpayers. Unlike private sector customers, taxpayers are not free to take their business elsewhere (Baird, 1986). 

    Unions, of course, argued that public sector employment is just like private sector employment; denying the privileges of unionization to public sector employees was treating them as second class citizens. In 1959, the Wisconsin legislature gave into this equivalency argument for unionism in the public sector and enacted the nation’s first public sector bargaining law. The statute denied the right to strike to Wisconsin’s state and local public employees, but the other three cardinal principles of unionism were incorporated in the law. 

    In 1960, the NEA’s Representative Assembly (its annual national convention) called for the Board of Directors to undertake a study of the "negotiation" of salaries and conditions of work with boards of education (West, p. 44). The Board prepared a resolution which it presented to the 1961 convention delegates. In part, the resolution said:

    The National Education Association believes ... that professional education associations should be accorded the right, through democratically elected representatives, using appropriate professional channels, to participate in the determination of policies of common concern, including salary and other conditions for professional service.

    The seeking of consensus and mutual agreement on a professional basis should preclude the arbitrary exercise of unilateral authority by boards of education and the use of the strike by teachers as a means for enforcing economic demands. Professional procedures should be established which can be utilized, when agreement is not reached through joint discussion in a reasonable time, to bring about a resolution of differences (quoted in West, p. 45).

    The repeated use of the word "professional" was intended to mask the fact that the Board of Directors was really proposing a form of teacher unionism. The dominant view in the NEA was that unionism was for blue collar workers, but "professional negotiation" was appropriate for teachers. In order to eliminate the odious reference to "the strike," and reinforce the NEA’s commitment to "professionalism," the second paragraph quoted above was amended to read: 
    When common consent cannot be reached, the Association recommends that a board of review consisting of members of professional and lay groups affiliated with education should be used as a means of resolving extreme difficulties (quoted in West, p. 45). 
    The amended resolution was adopted by the convention. 

    In the 1950s, Walter Reuther, head of the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO, was very interested in organizing New York City teachers as part of his plan to offset declining union membership in the private sector. With help from the Auto Workers, the Communications Workers and other unions, Reuther undertook to organize the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) as an affiliate of the AFT (the AFL-CIO’s national teachers union). George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO, encouraged Mayor Robert F. Wagner to help; by 1960, the UFT was well established. Yet the NEA had no local organization in New York City. 

    In 1960 the UFT and Mayor Wagner agreed that he would appoint a fact-finding commission regarding teacher unionism. The following year, the commission conducted a referendum among all New York City teachers, asking them whether they wanted collective bargaining. They voted three to one in favor (West, pp. 51-52). 

    Following the referendum, the mayor and the board of education agreed to hold a certification election among New York City teachers. The candidates for exclusive bargaining agent were the UFT, the Teachers Bargaining Organization (of which the NEA was one of a coalition of nineteen organizations), and an independent group called the Teachers Union. The mailed ballots were counted on December 15, 1961. The UFT won the election with 20,000 votes. The coalition received 10,000 votes, and the Teachers Union received 2,500. 10,000-13,000 teachers didn’t vote (West, p. 54). 

    This New York experience shocked the NEA into action. It immediately undertook its Urban Project—a plan "to establish a new and vigorous program of services, which will seek to develop active local association programs in urban areas throughout the country" (quoted in West, p. 57). The purpose of the project was to assure that the NEA would never again be out-organized by the AFT in urban areas. As part of its strategy, the NEA carefully avoided using standard unionism words, and presented itself as the alternative to unionism for teachers. At its 1962 convention, William B. Carr, the executive secretary, called on the delegates to respond to the AFT by, 

    1. Strengthening their local associations; 

    2. Securing a written agreement on professional negotiations with their local school boards; 

    3. Making sure each delegate understands and can explain to others the difference between a professional association and a teachers’ union and why the former is better; 

    4. Arranging local forums to make certain every member of the association represented at the convention understands why an independent [of the AFL-CIO] profession is essential; and 

    5. Setting a timetable in each state for the achievement of unified, local, state and national membership with unified collection of dues and a schedule of services and responsibilities at each level (West, p. 64).

    In other words, Carr called on the NEA to become a labor union in every way except in name. Rather than a union, it was to be called a professional organization. Rather than collective bargaining, it was to participate in professional negotiations. This deceptive strategy was very important to the NEA because many teachers thought that unionism was beneath professionals; and because, at the time, the NEA was classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donations to 501(c)(3) organizations are tax deductible for the donors. Labor unions are 501(c)(5) organizations, which are exempt from paying taxes on their income, but donations to them are not tax deductible for the donors. 

    The strike is the sine qua non of a labor union. Yet in the same convention speech alluded to above, Executive Secretary Carr opined: 

    I think I can say on your behalf to school boards, as well as to parents and other citizens: the members of the National Education Association, whatever others [i.e., the AFT] may do, will constantly strive to improve their qualifications and the quality of service they render; they will keep their pledged word; and they will never walk out on the students in their charge (quoted in West, p. 67).
    That must sound strange to all the parents, students, teachers and school boards who have been victimized by NEA strikes since the 1970s. Compare Carr’s words with the following statement of NEA policy from the 1983-84 annual edition of its journal, Today’s Education
    The National Education Association denounces the practice of keeping schools open during a strike. It believes that when a picket line is established by the authorized bargaining unit, crossing it is strikebreaking. This unprofessional act jeopardizes the welfare of teachers and the educational process....

    In the event of a strike by professional employees, extracurricular and co-curricular activities must cease. Appropriate teacher training institutions should be notified that a strike is being conducted and urged not to cooperate in emergency certification or placement practices that constitute strikebreaking (quoted in Blumenfeld, p. 223).

    According to today’s NEA, striking is professional and teaching during a strike is unprofessional—even in those states where public employee strikes are illegal. 

    What happened from 1962 to 1984 that caused the NEA to come out of the closet and fully embrace unionist agenda and vocabulary? First of all, in 1962 President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10988 authorizing federal employees to unionize, but without union security and the right to strike. Then, more and more states, following Wisconsin and the Federal Government, fell into the trap of public employee unionism. Today 34 states have collective bargaining statutes covering their respective state and local government employees. Most include union security; some include the right to strike. In short, public sector unionism has become respectable. 

    In addition, in 1963 the IRS began to question the NEA’s status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Consequently, in 1969, the IRS changed the NEA’s designation to a 501(c)(6) organization—a business league. Even though it was clear to everyone that the NEA was a labor union (except in name), it was not until 1978 that the IRS declared the NEA to be a 501(c)(5) labor union. Soon thereafter the NEA dropped all its pretenses to the contrary. 

    There is one moment that can be identified as the NEA's first public proclamation of solidarity with the union movement; namely, an editorial by NEA president Willard McGuire in the November-December 1981 issue of Today’s Education. 

    NEA is proud to be a professional organization. We are also proud to be part of the labor movement and are proud to have joined together with the AFL-CIO, the NAACP, and other national and regional organizations—on September 19, Solidarity Day—in protest against the Reagan Administration’s economic policies. 

    Today, NEA is a leader in the American labor movement.... [W]hile we are no better than any other labor group, we are different, and we see our organization, clearly, as having the strength, expertise, and clout to get important jobs done. 

    We call on everyone within the labor movement to join us in a rededication to quality education. We in turn pledge to continue our efforts to ensure dignity and justice and equity for all workers, in all endeavors, throughout the workplace of our nation—and of the world (quoted in Blumenfeld, p. 174).

    In 1968, the NEA drafted a federal collective bargaining law that would impose public employee unionism on every state. The proposed legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate in 1969 by Senator Lee Metcalf (D-MT). If passed, it would strengthen the hands of unions in states with weak (from a unionist point of view) laws, and would corral public employees and governments in those states that had refused to adopt collective bargaining statutes. The bill didn’t pass, but ever since then the NEA has kept trying to get a federal public employee unionism bill enacted. The Supreme Court did clear the way for such federal interference in state government employment relations in Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority [469 U.S. 528 (1985)]. Nevertheless, according to one NEA historian, there is only one major legislative goal that the NEA has not achieved since its centennial, namely, the enactment of a federal collective bargaining law (West, p. 186). 

    V. The NEA as the "National Extortion Association"

    In three articles in Forbes magazine (June 7, 1993; February 13, 1995; and April 24, 1995), Peter Brimelow and Leslie Spencer exposed the NEA as a particularly nasty, self-serving, extortionist organization concerned not with education, students and teachers, but with its own institutional interests at the expense of anyone that gets in its way. Should this renegade organization continue to enjoy the prestige and tax exemption privileges of its federal charter? 

    Extortion is the use of coercion to secure monetary or in-kind benefits from unwilling payers. The NEA is involved in extortion in many ways. For example, in October 1981, the school board of Alpena, Michigan, at the behest of the NEA, shut down the public schools before the end of the academic year because voters had repeatedly refused to raise local property taxes in order to pay high union-imposed costs (e.g., teacher salaries, work rules). At the same time, citizens in several other Michigan districts were threatened with similar shutdowns. The blackmail was successful. Voters came up with the money, and the union attack dogs were called off. 

    The NEA used a similar scheme to extort more money from the taxpayers of Kalkaska, Michigan in March 1993. The public school teachers’ average income in the district was already $32,000 while the taxpayers’ average income was $22,000. Also, the school board had earlier granted a six percent annual pay raise for three years to teachers. Nevertheless, another complicit school board terminated the school year two months early when voters failed to raise taxes for teacher pay increases. The extent of the NEA’s control over the school board was clear when an editorial writer for the Detroit News called the school board for comments on the shutdown: he was told to call the local NEA office. When Forbesinterviewed Keith Geiger, then national president of the NEA, on the shutdown, he made it clear that other Michigan school districts would suffer the same fate if their taxpayers didn’t come up with sufficient protection money. 

    The NEA not only extorts money from taxpayers; it treats many teachers the same way. Since 1975 the NEA has imposed a "unified dues" structure on its members. A teacher who is a member of a NEA local union must also become a member of both the state and national NEA organizations. Dues are collected at the local level for all three levels, which converts forced dues at the local level into forced dues at the state and national levels. To preserve union security, many teachers are forced to join (or at least pay dues to) the local NEA union as a condition of continued employment. Those who are voluntary members at the local level but who prefer not to be members at the state and national levels, as well as teachers who want nothing to do with unions at any level, are coerced to pay union dues for all three levels. The NEA's message to teachers is: pay up or don't teach

    Teachers who object to this extortion may be ostracized and terrorized by the NEA and militant union representatives. For example, in the 1970s the NEA terrorized Kay Jackson who was a teacher in Swartz Creek, Michigan, and who objected to forced dues. Not only was she forced to endure costly litigation and painful ostracism, but dead cats were thrown at her house and her pet German shepherd was killed. 

    Another way the NEA extorts money is by providing liability insurance to its members and collecting the premiums as part of dues. The NEA must make substantial profits from this enterprise. This became clear when Lamar Alexander, then governor of Tennessee, proposed that the state pay for teacher liability insurance through an alternative insurer. The NEA responded by accusing him of union busting. The NEA has apparently convinced many teachers that it can provide life, health and liability insurance at low rates. Yet in most cases the teachers could get better coverage for less through alternative suppliers. For example, the NEA’s Michigan Education Special Services Association (Messa) provides health insurance that costs each teacher $1,000 more per year than Michigan’s state employee health plan. Yet no school board dares to address the Messa issue; if they did, they would invite a strike. 

    The NEA also imposes extortion against parents of students. For example, John Jenkins, a parent in the Chicago school system, was a plaintiff in a 1993 suit filed against the Chicago public school monopoly by the Institute for Justice. Mr. Jenkins was deeply concerned about the quality of education. He received threatening phone calls that forced him and his family to hide out; the calls did not stop until after this outrage was publicized. If his suit had been successful (which it was not), students held hostage by the NEA in failed public schools could escape to private schools through the use of education vouchers. 

    In addition, the NEA imposes extortion against students themselves. Forbes reported instances wherein the NEA instructed teachers to refuse to write letters of recommendation for college admissions unless the students’ families actively supported the NEA agenda. 

    Finally, the NEA imposes extortion against people who take the wrong side (in the NEA's view) in state ballot initiative campaigns. Consider the antics of the California Teachers Association (CTA), an NEA state affiliate, in the 1992-93 school voucher initiative campaign. Wherever the CTA knew that signatures were being gathered to put the initiative on the ballot, they sent militant representatives to harass and challenge would-be signers. They often physically blocked access to the tables where the signatures were being gathered, and they sabotaged petitions with fake names. But the CTA didn’t stop there. According to the sworn statement of the president of a signature gathering firm, the CTA offered him $400,000 not to gather signatures for the initiative (Haar, Lieberman and Troy, p. 75). 

    To oppose a ballot initiative and therefore decline to sign a petition that would put it on the ballot is an exercise of civil liberty. But to try to use force, fraud and bribery to prevent an initiative from getting on the ballot is coercion and extortion. D. A. Weber, then president of the CTA, excused this improper behavior with these words: 

    [Y]ou and I, the California Teachers Association, decided to do something very dramatic, something nobody had ever tried in the nine decades that the initiative has existed in this state. We decided to create an organized campaign to block an initiative from getting enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. 

    We realized that we would be accused of acting in an ‘undemocratic’ manner. What was wrong, after all, with letting the people vote on an issue? 

    Our answer was firm: There are some proposals that are so evil that they should never even be presented to the voters. We do not believe, for example, that we should hold an election on ‘empowering’ the Ku Klux Klan. And we would not think it’s ‘undemocratic’ to oppose voting on legalizing child prostitution. 

    Destroying public education, in our view, belongs in that category (quoted in Haar, Lieberman and Troy, pp. 75-6).

    Far from being like the KKK and child prostitution, school vouchers for K-12 students are exactly like the post World War II G.I. bill, which gave grants to veterans to use at any college or university. The only education reform that can possibly rescue American K-12 students from the dismal performance of the public school monopoly is competition. Vouchers are the means by which failed public schools will have to improve or perish. 

    What is really at stake in the voucher debate is the NEA’s role as a monopoly provider of teacher services to a monopoly buyer of those services. As long as parents and students do not have open access to private schools they are held hostage in public schools. The NEA can extort high prices from school boards, who in turn pass the costs on to taxpayers. Vouchers would not destroy education, but would destroy the hegemony of the NEA. 

    To the charge of extortion can be added the charge of duplicity (i.e., double-dealing, deceitfulness, double-talking), demonstrated by what happened with the voucher initiative in California. The initiative qualified for the November 1993 ballot, but was defeated. The CTA-NEA successfully conducted a $12.3 million campaign to deceive California voters—a campaign financed in part by a $57 tax imposed by the CTA on most of its members (Haar, Lieberman and Troy, p. 73). 

    VI. The NEA and Partisan Politics

    On February 4, 1997, in his State of the Union speech, President Clinton asked the U.S. Congress to stop politics at the schoolhouse door. Yet that would require them to ban the NEA from all schoolhouses. 

    The NEA initiated its national political activities in 1969-70, when it actively and successfully campaigned against the confirmation of two Nixon appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court—Clement F. Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell—on the grounds that their civil rights records suggested they would abridge "the rights of every school child" (West, p. 192). The nominations were withdrawn. 

    The NEA’s appetite for political influence at the national level was whetted. It set up the NEA-PAC in 1972, and endorsed 32 candidates in the House and Senate races that year. In 1974, it endorsed 282 House and Senate candidates; and in 1976, 247 candidates (West, p. 200). The NEA endorsed its first presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter, in 1976. In 1979 President Carter rewarded the NEA for its support by giving the NEA its own cabinet department, namely, the U.S. Department of Education. The NEA has endorsed a candidate in every subsequent presidential election—all Democrats. Similarly, almost all of the House and Senate candidates the NEA has endorsed since 1972 have been Democrats. This is not because no teachers are Republicans—almost 40% are—but is because the Democrats have promised to sustain the public school monopoly. NEA endorsements come with NEA money, and NEA money comes largely from forced dues. Consequently, the almost 40% of NEA teachers who are Republicans are coerced into supporting Democrats at election time. 

    The overwhelming partisan bias of the NEA is illustrated by Federal Election Commission data on the 1995-96 election cycle as of November 25, 1996. Total NEA-PAC contributions were as follows: 

    U.S. Senate candidates: 

    Democratic: $255,000 Republican: $1,500
    U.S. House of Representatives candidates: 
    Democratic: $2,038,180 Republican: $10,350
    National and state party committees: 
    Democratic: $414,900 Republican: $45,000

    (Note: All these data are from an FEC information web site: They do not include PAC contributions by NEA state and local affiliates.) 

    William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Education in the Reagan cabinet, spoke truthfully when he said of the NEA: "You’re looking at the absolute heart and center of the Democratic Party" (quoted in Forbes, June 7, 1993, p. 74). 

    Only one of the 24 federally chartered organizations listed in Table 1 (organizations comparable to the NEA in 1906 when it received its charter) even had a PAC in the latest election cycle (per the FEC information web site mentioned above). That organization is the Medical Society for the District of Columbia (chartered in 1819); it neither raised nor distributed money from January 1, 1995 through November 25, 1996. The NEA is perversely unique among federally-chartered organizations. It enjoys the privileges and prestige of a federal charter while it expends massive resources to subvert federal public policy for its own narrow special interests. 

    Table 2 below lists the organizations, 27 in all, upon which Congress has conferred real and personal property tax exemptions as of October 30, 1995. The list was compiled by the office of Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), and was part of his response (sent on that date) to a constituent who inquired about the NEA’s real and personal property tax exemption. When I compared this list with the list of all federally chartered organizations compiled by the Humanities and Social Science Division of the Library of Congress (see appendix to this article), I discovered that only 14 of these tax-exempt organizations are federally chartered. Apparently, Congress grants real and personal property tax exemptions to some groups that are not federally chartered.  

    Table 2

    Organizations Upon Which Congress Has Conferred  
    Real and Personal Property Tax Exemptions  
    as of October 30, 199

  • Other than the NEA, only one organization on this list, the American Pharmaceutical Association (APA), had a PAC and made political donations to political candidates in the 1995-96 election cycle. Given the significant burden of federal government regulation of pharmaceuticals through the Food and Drug Administration, it is easy to see why the APA is more politically involved than, say, the National Geographic Society. The APA's political donations during the period mentioned were as follows:

    U.S. Senate candidates: 
    Democratic: $46,250

    Republican: $34,250

    U.S. House of Representatives candidates: 
    Democratic: $48,000

    Republican: $42,550

    When compared with the NEA figures given earlier, the APA donates very little and is bipartisan in its giving. Again, the NEA is in a class all by itself among organizations favored by Congress with real and personal property tax exemptions. 

    VII. Conclusion & the NEA's National political Agenda

    The NEA’s political activities are unique among federally chartered organizations. But what are the specifics of its national political agenda? The NEA categorizes its legislative program into three tiers. The first tier is, 

    1. NEA Priority Legislative Initiatives: 

    • constantly increasing federal funding for public schools and post secondary education; and 
    • forcing all teachers at all levels of education into becoming NEA dues payers. 
    Of course, they don’t state the second objective that way. They express it as obtaining "collective bargaining rights" for teachers. In this respect, the NEA continues to promote the adoption of a federal collective bargaining law to impose forced unionism on all state and local government employees—especially teachers—throughout the United States. The NEA asserts that "continuing high activity levels" are necessary to accomplish these objectives (Haar, Lieberman and Troy, p. 53). 

    Similarly, the NEA states that second tier initiatives require "intensive activity to advance NEA’s objectives." These initiatives pertain to national public policy concerns before Congress. 

    2. Current Priority Congressional Issues: 

    • non-educational concerns, such as HIV research; 
    • government-based single payer health insurance; 
    • statehood for the District of Columbia;
    • preventing any Medicare/Medicaid savings;
    • improving Social Security benefits;
    • expanding drug programs;
    • federal funding of congressional campaigns;
    • federally mandated educational benefits for the disabled; and
    • early childhood health and education programs (Haar, Lieberman and Troy, p. 54). 
    Third tier objectives, according to the NEA, require "appropriate NEA activity."

    3. NEA Ongoing Legislative Concerns: 

    • repeal of Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act that allows individual states to adopt right-to-work laws (laws that prohibit forced union membership and forced dues paying in the private sector); 
    • maintaining the cabinet-level status of the U.S. Department of Education; and 
    • assuring funding continues to increase for public broadcasting (Haar, Lieberman and Troy, p. 54). 
    I don’t understand the differences between "continuing high activity," "intensive activity," and "appropriate activity." The record suggests that the NEA pursues all its goals with the same reckless disregard for the rights of those who disagree with them. It is an outrage that Congress has not long since repealed the NEA’s federal charter. Moreover, it is an insult to other federal charter holders. The NEA resembles the Mafia much more than it resembles the Boy Scouts, the American Red Cross, or Little League Baseball.  


    Baird, Charles W. "Strikes Against Government: The California Supreme Court Decision," Government Union Review, Volume 7 (Winter 1986), pp. 1-29. 

    Blumenfeld, Samuel L. NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education (Phoenix, Arizona: The Paradigm Company), 1984. 

    Brimelow, Peter, and Spencer, Leslie. "The National Extortion Association?," Forbes, June 7, 1993, pp. 72-84. 

    Brimelow, Peter, and Spencer, Leslie. "Comeuppance," Forbes, February 13, 1995, pp. 121-127. 

    Brimelow, Peter, and Spencer, Leslie. "Apple for the Teacher," Forbes, April 24, 1995, pp. 46-48. 

    Congressional Record, April 2, 1906. 

    Federal Election Commission information web site:

    "Granting Federal Charters." Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, 100th Congress, November 10, 1987 and March 3, 1988 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office), 1988. 

    Haar, Charlene; Lieberman, Myron; and Troy, Leo. The NEA and AFT: Teacher Unions in Power and Politics (Rockport, Massachusetts: ProActive Publications), 1994. 

    Olson, Christine L. "U.S. Department of Education Financing of Elementary and Secondary Education: Where the Money Goes," F.Y.I. No. 126 (Washington, DC: The Heritage Foundation), December 30, 1996. 

    Wesley, Edgar B. NEA: The First Hundred Years (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers), 1957. 

    West, Allan M. The National Education Association: The Power Base for Education (New York: The Free Press), 1980. 

    Chronological List of 
    Charters Granted by Congress

    Source: Humanities and Social Sciences Division of the Library of Congress

  • The President, Director and Company, of the Bank of the United States (1791)

    Washington Canal Company (1802)

    Mayor and Council of the City of Washington (1802)

    The Directors of the Colombian Library Company in Georgetown (1804)

    The Trustees of the Presbyterian congregation, in Georgetown (1806)

    The Washington Bridge Company (1808)

    The Washington and Alexandria Turnpike Company (1808)

    Washington Canal Company (1809)

    The president, directors and company of the Georgetown and Alexandria Turnpike Road (1809)

    President , Director and Company of the Columbia Turnpike Roads (1810)

    President, Director and Company of the Bank of Alexandria (1811)

    President and Directors of the Bank of Washington (1811)

    Farmers’ Bank of Alexandria (1811)

    The President, director and company of the Bank of Potomac (1811)

    President and Directors of the Union Bank of Georgetown (1811)

    The Trustees of the Georgetown Lancaster School Society (1812)

    Mechanics’ Bank of Alexandria (1812)

    Alexandria and Leesburg Turnpike Company (1813)

    Fire Insurance Company of Alexandria (1814)

    The Georgetown Water Company (1814)

    The Directors of the Washington Library Company (1814)

    The president, directors, and company of the bank of the United States (1816)

    Farmers and Mechanics’ Bank of Georgetown (1817)

    Central Bank of Georgetown and Washington (1817)

    President and Directors of the Bank of the Metropolis (1817)

    Patriotic Bank of Washington (1817)

    Franklin Bank of Alexandria (1817)

    Union Bank of Alexandria (1817)

    Columbian Insurance Company of Alexandria (1818)

    Franklin Insurance Company (1818)

    Mechanic Relief Society of Alexandria (1818)

    Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences (1818)

    The Provident Association of Clerks (1819)

    Medical Society of the District of Columbia (1819)

    The Navy Bridge Company (1819)

    The Columbian College in the District of Columbia (1821)

    Bank of Columbia (1821)

    The trustees of the Female Orphan Asylum of Georgetown, in the District of Columbia (1828)

    The Washington City Orphan Asylum (1828)

    Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph (1828)

    Sisters of the Visitation (1828)

    Washington, Alexandria, and Georgetown Steam Packet Company (1829)

    Alexandria Canal Company (1830)

    Saint Vincent’s Orphan Asylum (1831)

    Potomac Fire Insurance Company of Georgetown (1831)

    Georgetown Free School and Orphan Asylum (1833)

    Howard Institution of the City of Washington (1837)

    The President and Directors of the Firemen’s Insurance Company of Washington and Georgetown (1837)

    Washington City Benevolent Society (1841)

    Washington’s Manual Labor School and Male Orphan Asylum Society, D.C. (1842)

    German Benevolent Society (1842)

    The National Institute for the Promotion of Science (1842)

    President and Directors of Georgetown College (1844)

    Smithsonian Institution (1846)

    Washington Gas Light Company (1848)

    The Oak Hill Cemetery Company (1849)

    The Sisters of the Visitation of Washington (1853)

    The Georgetown Gaslight Company (1854)

    Glenwood Cemetery in the D.C. (1854)

    The Pioneer Manufacturing Company of Georgetown, D.C. (1854)

    Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the D.C. (1855)

    The trustees of St. Joseph’s Male Orphan Asylum (1855)

    St. Thomas’ Literary Society (1856)

    The Columbia Library of Capitol Hill, in the City of Washington (1856)

    Columbia’s Library for Young Men (1856)

    Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, and the Blind (1857)

    Washington Insurance Company (1857)

    President and Directors of Gonzaga College (1858)

    The Benevolent Christian Association of Washington City (1858)

    The Washington National Monument Society (1859)

    The United States Agricultural Society (1860)

    Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of the District of Columbia (1860)

    Prospect Hill Cemetery, in the District of Columbia (1860)

    The National Gallery and School of Arts (1860)

    East Washington Library Association (1860)

    Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company (1862)

    Mount Olivet Cemetery Company (1862)

    The Union Pacific Railroad Company (1862)

    Guardian Society (1862)

    The National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children (1863)

    The Institution for the Education of Colored Youth (1863)

    St. Ann’s Infant Asylum (1863)

    National Academy of Sciences (1863)

    The Washington City Savings Bank (1864)

    The Union Gas-light Company of the District of Columbia (1864)

    The Directors of Providence Hospital (1864)

    Masonic Hall Association of the District of Columbia (1864)

    The News-boys’ Home of Washington City (1864)

    The Home for the Relief of Friendless Women and Children (1864)

    Colored Catholic Male Benevolent Society (1864)

    Young Men’s Christian Association of the City of Washington (1864)

    Metropolitan Railroad Company (1864)

    Potomac Ferry Company (1864)

    Northern Pacific Railroad Company (1864)

    The National Union Insurance Company of Washington (1865)

    Sisters of Mercy in the District of Columbia (1865)

    National Military and Naval Asylum for the Relief of the Totally Disabled Officers and Men of the Volunteer Forces of the United States (1865)

    The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (1865)

    Colored Union Benevolent Association (1865)

    Continental Hotel Company (1865)

    The Capitol Hotel Company (1865)

    The National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (1866)

    The National Theological Institute (1866)

    The Academy of Music of Washington, D.C. (1866)

    Columbia Hospital for Women and Lying-in Asylum (1866)

    The Howard Institute and Home (1866)

    Metropolitan Mining and Manufacturing Company of the District of Columbia (1866)

    Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Union of the City of Washington, D.C. (1866)

    National Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home (1866)

    Washington Temperance Society of Washington City and District of Columbia (1866)

    Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company (1866)

    Directors of the General Hospital of the District of Columbia (1866)

    National Safe Deposit Company of Washington (1867)

    Washington County Horse Railroad Company (1867)

    The First Congregational Society of Washington (1867)

    The Howard University (1867)

    Joint Stock Company of the Young Men’s Christian Association (1867)

    National Capital Insurance Company (1867)

    Lincoln Monument Association (1867)

    The Congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Washington (1868)

    Connecticut Avenue and Park Railway Company (1868)

    National Hotel Company, in the City of Washington, in the District of Columbia (1868)

    Washington Target-Shooting Association (1868)

    National Life Insurance Company of the United States of America (1868)

    Evening Star Newspaper Company of Washington (1868)

    The Masonic Mutual Relief Association of the District of Columbia (1869)

    National Junction Railway Company (1869)

    Washington Mail Steamboat Company (1870)

    Washington General Hospital and Asylum of the District of Columbia (1870)

    Washington Homeopathic Medical Society (1870)

    Washington Hospital for Foundlings (1870)

    Washington and Boston Steamship Company (1870)

    Washington Market Company (1870)

    Columbia Railway Company (1870)

    National Savings Bank of the District of Columbia (1870)

    Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1870)

    Washington Zoological Society (1870)

    Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (1870)

    The National Life Assurance and Trust Association (1870)

    National Bolivian Navigation Company (1870)

    United States Freehold Land and Emigration Company (1870)

    Texas Pacific Railroad Company (1871)

    Centennial Board of Finance (1872)

    Loomis Aerial Telegraph Company (1873)

    Anacostia and Potomac River Railroad Company, of Washington City, District of Columbia (1875)

    Capitol, North O Street, and South Washington Railway Company (1875)

    The Trustees of the Louise Home (1875)

    Inland and Seaboard Coasting Company of the District of Columbia (1875)

    Washington City Inebriate Asylum of the District of Columbia (1875)

    The Citizens’ Building Company of Washington City (1876)

    Georgetown and Tennallytown Railroad Company (1876)

    Mutual Protection Fire Insurance Company of the District of Columbia (1876)

    National Fair Grounds Association (1878)

    Utah and Northern Railway Company (1878)

    United States International Commission (1880)

    Luther Statue Association (1885)

    Trustees of Young Woman’s Christian Home (1887)

    Eckington and Soldier’s Home Railway Company of the District of Columbia (1888)

    Rock Creed Railway Company of the District of Columbia (1888)

    Board of Trustees of the Girl’s Reform School of the District of Columbia (1888)

    Georgetown and Tenallytown Railway Company of the District of Columbia (1888)

    Georgetown Barge, Dock, Elevator, and Railway Company (1888)

    Brightwood Railway Company of the District of Columbia (1888)

    American Historical Association (1889)

    The Maritime Canal Company of Nicaragua (1889)

    Washington and Western Maryland Railroad Company (1889)

    North River Bridge Company (1890)

    The King Theological Hall (1891)

    Washington and Arlington Railway Company of the District of the Columbia (1891)

    National Conservatory of Music of America (1891)

    The District of Columbia Suburban Railway Company (1892)

    Board of Children’s Guardians (1892)

    National Academy of Art (1892)

    Washington and Great Falls Electric Railway Company (1892)

    Maryland and Washington Railway Company (1892)

    Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of the District of Columbia (1893)

    Eclectic Medical Society of the District of Columbia (1893)

    The American University (1893)

    Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad Company (1894)

    The Supreme Lodge Knights of Pythias (1894)

    Capital Railway Company (1895)

    Post Graduate School of Medicine, of the District of Columbia (1896)

    The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (1896)

    The Supreme Council (Mother Council of the World) of the Inspectors General Knights Commanders of the House of the Temple of Solomon of the Thirty-Third Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Free Masonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America (1896)

    The Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Washington (1896)

    National University (1896)

    (merged into Georgetown University)

    Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf (1897)

    The National Florence Crittenton Mission (1898)

    The Masonic Temple Association of the District of Columbia (1898)

    East Washington Heights Traction Railroad Company of the District of Columbia (1898)

    Washington and University Railroad Company of the District of Columbia (1898)

    American Social Science Association (1899)

    The American National Red Cross (1900)

    Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association (1900)

    German Orphan Asylum Association of the District of Columbia (1901)

    National Society of United States Daughters of Eighteen Hundred and Twelve (1901) 

    General Federation of Women’s Clubs (1901)

    Society of American Florists and Ornamental Horticulturists (1901)

    The Eastern Star Home of the District of Columbia (1902)

    The Society of the Army of Santiago de Cuba (1902)

    General Education Board of the District of Columbia (1903)

    Association of Military Surgeons of the United States of America (1903)

    Washington Sanitary Housing Company (1904)

    Carnegie Institution of Washington (1904)

    Mutual Investment Fire Insurance Company of the District of Columbia (1905)

    Trustees of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar (1905)

    American Academy in Rome (1905)

    The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1906)

    Great Council of the United States of the Improved Order of Red Men (1906)

    The American Cross of Honor (1906)

    The Edes Home (1906)

    Archeological Institute of America (1906)

    National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (1906)

    National Education Association of the United States (1906)

    The Lake Erie and Ohio River Ship Canal Company (1906)

    The International Sunday School Association (1907)

    National Child Labor Committee (1907)

    The National German-American Alliance of the United States of America (1907)

    The Hungarian Reformed Federation of America (1907)

    The Brotherhood of Saint Andrew (1908)

    The Congressional Club (1908)

    Cordova Bay Harbor Improvement and Town-Site Company (1909)

    The Imperial Palace, Dramatic Order Knights of Khorassan (1909)

    National McKinley Birthplace Memorial Association (1911)

    American Numismatic Association (1912)

    The Naval History Society (1912)

    American Hospital of Paris (1913)

    National Institute of Arts and Letters (1913)

    Ellen Wilson Memorial Homes (1915)

    American Academy of Arts and Letters (1916)

    Boy Scouts of America (1916)

    United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation (1916)

    War Finance Corporation (1918)

    Near East Relief (1919)

    The American Legion (1919)

    Roosevelt Memorial Association (1920)

    Belleau Wood Memorial Association (1923)

    The Grand Army of the Republic (1924)

    Inland Waterways Corporation (1924)

    The United States Blind Veterans of the World War (1924)

    American War Mothers (1925)

    Lucy Webb Hayes National Training School for Deaconesses and Missionaries (1927)

    Catholic University of America (1928)

    Textile Foundation (1930)

    Reconstruction Finance Corporation (1932)

    District of Columbia Commission, George Washington Bicentennial (1932)

    Disabled American Veterans of the World War (1932)

    Capital Transit Company (1933)

    Tennessee Valley Authority (1933)

    Corporation of Foreign Security Holders (1933)

    Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (1933)

    Central Bank for Cooperatives (1933)

    Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation (1934)

    Cairo Bridge Commission (1934)

    Columbus University of Washington, District of Columbia (1934)

    Port Arthur Bridge Commission (1934)

    Federal Prison Industries (1934)

    Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (1934)

    Commodity Credit Corporation (1935)

    Export-Import Bank of Washington and the Second Export-Import Bank of Washington (1935)

    Trinity College of Washington, District of Columbia (1935)

    The American National Theater and Academy (1935)

    Electric Home and Farm Authority (1936)

    Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (1936)

    The National Yoeman (1936)

    Disaster Loan Corporation (1936)

    Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation (1937)

    Farmers’ Home Corporation (1937)

    Marine Corps League (1937)

    Owensboro Bridge Commission (1937)

    Southeastern University (1937)

    American Chemical Society (1937)

    United States Housing Authority (1937)

    Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Consolidated into Agricultural Conservation and Adjustment Administration (1938)

    Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C. (1938)

    Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (1938)

    Arkansas-Mississippi Bridge Commission (1939)

    City of Dubuque Bridge Commission (1939)

    Louisiana-Vicksburg Bridge Commission (1939)

    Memphis and Arkansas Bridge Commission (1939)

    Group Hospitalization, Inc. (1939)

    United Spanish War Veterans (1940)

    Navy Club of the United States of America (1940)

    White County Bridge Commission (1941)

    The Union Church of the Canal Zone (1941)

    Smaller War Plants Commission (1942)

    District Unemployment Compensation (1943)

    City of Clinton Bridge Commission (1944)

    Civil Air Patrol (1946)

    District of Columbia Redevelopment (1946)

    Export-Import Bank of Washington (1947)

    AMVETS (1947)

    Institute of Inter-American Affairs (1947)

    Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington (1948)

    Commodity Credit Corporation (1947)

    Panama Railroad Company (1948)

    Federal National Mortgage Association (1948)

    Virgin Islands Corporation (1949)

    National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States (1949)

    Girl Scouts of the United States of America (1950)

    Reserve Officers Association of the United States (1950)

    Future Farmers of America (1950)

    The Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America (1950)

    The American Society of International Law (1950)

    United States Olympic Association (1950)

    Sabine Lake Bridge and Causeway Authority (1951)

    Conference of State Societies, Washington, District of Columbia (1952)

    National Conference on Citizenship (1953)

    National Safety Council (1953)

    Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (1954)

    Board for Fundamental Education (1954)

    Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (1954)

    The Foundation of Federal Bar Association (1954)

    National Fund for Medical Education (1954)

    Army and Navy Legion of Valor of the United States of America, Incorporated (1955)

    Muscatine Bridge Commission (1956)

    National Music Council (1956)

    Boys’ Clubs of America (1956)

    Veterans of World War I of the United States of America, Incorporated (1958)

    Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United States of America (1958)

    Military Order of the Purple Heart of the United States of America (1958)

    Blinded Veterans Association, Incorporated (1958)

    Big Brothers of America (1958)

    Jewish War Veterans, USA, National Memorial, Incorporated (1958)

    Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (1959)

    Blue Star Mothers of America (1960)

    Agricultural Hall of Fame (1960)

    Metropolitan Police Relief Association of the District of Columbia (1962)

    Communications Satellite Corporation (1962)

    National Women’s Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (1962)

    Naval Sea Cadet Corps (1962)

    American Symphony Orchestra League (1962)

    Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Foundation, Inc. (1963)

    Association of Universalist Women (1963)

    Aviation Hall of Fame (1964)

    National Committee on Radiation Protection and Measurements (1964)

    Little League Baseball, Inc. (1964)

    Corporation for Public Broadcasting (1967)

    Government National Mortgage Association (1968)

    Overseas Private Investment Corporation (1969)

    Inter-American Social Development Institute (1969)

    Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (1970)

    National Railroad Passenger Corporation (1970)

    Paralyzed Veterans of America (1971)

    Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (1972)

    U.S. Railway Association (1974)

    Consolidated Rail Corporation (1974)

    Legal Services Corporation (1974)

    Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (1974)