A super PAC formed by the powerful city teachers’ union paid more than $370,000 to an apparently fictitious political consulting firm, which was actually the well-known New York firm the Advance Group, records and interviews show.
The listing of the phony firm, “Strategic Consultants Inc.,” in campaign filings, obscured that Advance Group was being paid both to promote candidates for the United Federation of Teachers’ independent political action committee and working as the main campaign consultant for several of those same candidates. Super PACs have no spending limits but must not coordinate with individual campaigns.
The teachers union’s payments raise new questions about potentially improper coordination the between outside spending efforts run by the Advance Group, and the firm’s own clients.
In August and September, the teachers union’s so-called super PAC, United for the Future, paid more than $370,000 to “Strategic Consultants Inc.,” which produced mailers touting candidates in races across the five boroughs. But there is no corporate record in New York for a firm of that name, nor has such a firm ever been paid before in a New York election. A Google search did not yield any results for such a company.
In state campaign finance records, however, there is a Manhattan address listed for Strategic Consultants: 39 Broadway, which is also the address of the Advance Group. And in one campaign filing, a suite number is listed: 1740, the suite number of the Advance Group.