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Business Briefing: Teachers union tripled political, lobbying expenses

As the East St. Louis teachers continue their strike, a new report reveals the national union of teachers has tripled its expenses for lobbying and political activities compared to the previous fiscal year.

According to nonprofit group Watchdog.org, the American Federation of Teachers spent $37.6 million on lobbying and political expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30. During the previous fiscal year, the union spent $12.7 million during the previous fiscal period.

Watchdog.org is a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity that “promotes a well-informed electorate and a more transparent government.”

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Wall Street is in line to finish its best week of the year as stocks opened higher in early trading on Friday. Gains were led by mining companies, such as Newmont Mining and Freeport-McMoRan, which have each reported 4 percent increases so far. Read more here.

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The makers of Volkswagen have announced they may compensate owners of its diesel-powered model cars that have been found to emit high levels of pollutants. The auto-maker is considering a pay off to these car owners for the lost value of their vehicles. The company’s U.S. CEO Michael Horn said fixing most of the 500,000 affected cars in the United States could take up to two years. Learn more here.

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The latest word on a potential interest rate hike is that it may not happen until later this month or possible by the end of the year. According to Dennis Lockhart, a voting member of the Federal Reserve’s policy committee, the economy is on a satisfactory track and that an increase can wait, for now. The Fed has kept its key interest rate at near zero since December 2008. Find out more here.

-Will Buss, BND business writer

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