Frequently Asked Questions

ABOUT MSPEPAC

What is a PAC?

A political action committee (PAC) is a group that bands together around a unified set of issues or values to financially support candidates for public office. 

 

What is the benefit of contributing to a PAC?

Simply put, there is strength in numbers! A PAC pools donations from multiple individuals into a common fund and uses that fund to make contributions to candidates for elected office. By combining the resources of many individual public education supporters, MSPEPAC can have greater success electing candidates who share our guiding principles and more effectively build the positive relationships required to hold elected officials accountable.

 

What is the mission of MSPEPAC?

The mission of Mississippi Public Education PAC is to endorse and elect pro-public education candidates to the Mississippi Legislature. 

 

How was MSPEPAC founded?

The Mississippi Public Education PAC was founded in 2016 by a small group of passionate public school parents from around the state with the mission of endorsing and electing pro-public education candidates to the Mississippi Legislature. The grassroots effort has grown to include advocates from more than 40 communities across the state.

 

How does MSPEPAC operate?

A volunteer board of directors provides MSPEPAC with day-to-day leadership. In addition, a “working group” comprised of 8 to 10 volunteer parents consults on its program of work, and members from around the state provide boots-on-the-ground support as needed. MSPEPAC has no office headquarters or salaried staff. As needed, the PAC contracts with professionals to provide specialized services or administrative support.

 

Is MSPEPAC affiliated with any other public education organizations?

No. Although we seek to maintain positive relationships with fellow public education advocacy groups across the state, we are entirely independent.

 

Does MSPEPAC favor any political party?

No. MSPEPAC is fully nonpartisan. We believe Mississippi’s public schools need champions from both sides of the aisle and even those on the fence. 

 

Does MSPEPAC report its contributions and expenditures?

Yes. All political action committees are required to file a Statement of Organization and Reports of Receipts and Disbursements in accordance with a yearly schedule provided by the Mississippi Secretary of State. To view our filings, search “MS Public Education PAC” at this SOS portal: https://cfportal.sos.ms.gov/online/portal/cf/page/cf-search/Portal.aspx?#clear=1

 

ABOUT OUR DONORS

Can you provide a list of MSPEPAC’s donors?

No. Although MSPEPAC is committed to transparency, we also recognize the importance of maintaining each donor's financial privacy and security. In compliance with state requirements, all donations to MSPEPAC over $200 are reported to the Mississippi Secretary of State. To view our filings, search “MS Public Education PAC” at this SOS Portal: https://cfportal.sos.ms.gov/online/portal/cf/page/cf-search/Portal.aspx?#clear=1

Facts about our donor base:

  • MSPEPAC is funded by members from more than 40 communities across Mississippi. You may view our donor map here!
  • MSPEPAC's largest donors are Mississippians from across the political spectrum who share our guiding principles and a commitment to making sure Mississippi’s public schools, teachers and students thrive.
  • MSPEPAC welcomes donations of any size, which is why we actively recruit memberships for a mere $2.
  • Since our founding in 2016, MSPEPAC has received only $219 in out-of-state donations.
  • Except for $20 from a downtown Vicksburg day spa, every MSPEPC donation has been made by an individual supporter of public education, not a corporation, professional organization, or another political action committee.
  • MSPEPAC eagerly maintains up-to-date Mississippi Secretary of State filings which show a full list of donations over $200, but that’s only a small part of the story… More than 80% of donations to MSPEPAC are under $200!

 

Do individual donors dictate which candidates receive a MSPEPAC endorsement?

No. The MSPEPAC leadership follows a multi-step process in making endorsements, which enables MSPEPAC to make decisions based upon the candidate’s alignment with our guiding principles and other factors, not because of the influence of donors. Federal law prohibits donors from earmarking contributions for specific candidates.

 

ABOUT OUR ENDORSEMENTS

How does MSPEPAC choose which candidates to endorse?

MSPEPAC determines which candidates to endorse through a multi-step process that begins with a policy-focused candidate questionnaire. After review from our volunteer working group, interviews with candidates may be conducted at the discretion of the MSPEPAC board. The foremost criterion for endorsement is how a candidate demonstrates alignment with the MSPEPAC guiding principles. Additional criteria might include incumbent voting records, knowledge of public education policy, campaign viability, local involvement with public schools or campaign finance.

 

Does MSPEPAC rate or “grade” legislators based on their support of public education?

No. MSPEPAC does not provide a public education rating for legislators. Although incumbent voting records are an essential benchmark of public education support, we do not maintain an advocacy scale of any kind. MSPEPAC seeks to build relationships with candidates and legislators that result in positive and effective public education policy. We want those relationships to be characterized by trust, authenticity, and a genuine shared belief in the importance of thriving public schools.

 

Will MSPEPAC endorse a candidate in every legislative district?

Probably not. During an election cycle, MSPEPAC makes an effort to determine the most effective use of our limited resources of money, time and manpower. However, our decision to remain neutral in a specific district is not necessarily an indication that no strong public education candidates are on the ballot. It simply means we have decided not to apply resources to that particular race. 

 

What types of support does MSPEPAC provide endorsed candidates?

MSPEPAC supports endorsed candidates through monetary donations, in-kind marketing support materials, and volunteer get-out-the-vote postcard campaigns. 

 

How do I know which candidates MSPEPAC is supporting?

MSPEPAC publishes all endorsements on our website and/or social media platforms.

 

What is MSPEPAC’s track record for electing candidates?

MSPEPAC has endorsed seven candidates in special elections since our founding in 2016, and all seven were elected. This year marks our first involvement in a general election.

 

ABOUT GETTING INVOLVED

Are donations to MSPEPAC tax-deductible?

No, donations to a PAC are not tax-deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

 

What personal information must I disclose when contributing to MSPEPAC?

Mississippi state law requires political action committees to collect and report the name, mailing address and occupation or employer of individuals who contribute more than $200.

 

Can I earmark money to a party or particular candidate?

No. Under federal election law, the earmarking of contributions is illegal. 

 

Will my contribution be reported?

Mississippi state law requires that all contributions over $200 be reported to the Mississippi Secretary of State.

 

Can I make an anonymous donation?

All donations over $200 require a donor’s name, address and occupation or employer.

 

How do I donate?

Secure donations may be made through our website or by mailing a check to Mississippi Public Education PAC, P.O. Box 22, Tupelo, MS 38802. Donate here!

 

Are there any other ways to get involved?

Yes! There are several ways for public education advocates to be involved with MSPEPAC:

  • Connect with MSPEPAC through social media on FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM
  • Host a fundraiser for MSPEPAC to introduce our organization to other public education advocates
  • Invite MSPEPAC to speak about our work at local events like PTO meetings, education forums, school staff meetings, advocacy groups, or civic clubs
  • Share your story! We regularly share with our audience quotes and success stories of public education from supporters. Add yours here!
  • Join the Postcard Posse! We always need volunteers to write get-out-the-vote postcards for endorsed candidates. It’s an easy way to get involved right from your couch! Sign up here!