ATPE Political Action Committee


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FAQs about donating to ATPE-PAC

The ATPE Political Action Committee (ATPE-PAC) accepts voluntary donations and uses them to make nonpartisan contributions to officeholders/candidates who support public education and ATPE’s philosophies. ATPE-PAC solicits contributions only from ATPE members, employees and their families. Participation in ATPE-PAC is voluntary. Members can contribute any amount or nothing at all without affecting their ATPE membership status, rights or benefits.

Here are answers to some of members’ most common questions about ATPE-PAC.

Your PAC helps support your profession, your association’s principles and public education as an institution. ATPE advocates a comprehensive legislative program that includes enhanced benefits for educators and students, but we need the support of legislators and other elected officials to accomplish our priorities. ATPE-PAC is our vehicle for doing that, but we face a challenge. Without a substantial financial base, officeholders who support public education and ATPE’s professional nonunion philosophy are unable to compete with candidates backed by the labor unions or wealthy private business interests. That's why your financial support is critical. It helps ATPE gain the high profile and strength needed to compete in the political arena.

ATPE-PAC contributions to officeholders/candidates are based on one or more of the following:

  • Input from ATPE local unit and region presidents.
  • Candidate surveys and voting records.
  • Officeholder/candidate support of public education and ATPE’s professional nonunion philosophy.
  • The opportunity for increased recognition of ATPE.

No. ATPE notifies ATPE-PAC recipients that contributions do not constitute a public endorsement by ATPE. ATPE believes each member should support the officeholder/candidate of his choice. We encourage members to use ATPE’s voter education resources, such as Teach the Vote, to make informed choices at the polls and support pro-public education candidates.

Definitely not, but PAC contributions are one of the most important ways that ATPE can influence education policymaking at the state or local level. Before any elected official can make the important decisions affecting public education, he must first win an election. Texas has very few restrictions on campaign finance, and people who choose to run for office are generally forced to spend huge amounts in order to operate successful campaigns. Pro-public education candidates often face well-financed opponents, and they rely on support from PACs like ours to help them cover campaign expenses for outreach to potential voters.

A PAC such as ATPE-PAC enables individuals with limited resources to combine their financial contributions with others’ in order to achieve greater impact. By investing in ATPE-PAC, educators can help ensure that their contributions will be used in a targeted, effective manner to support the officeholders/candidates who share ATPE’s philosophies and values. In turn, officeholders/candidates appreciate and rely on the financial assistance of ATPE-PAC and are more likely to give ATPE members access and the opportunity to share input with them.

State and federal law prohibits ATPE from donating dues dollars to candidates or officeholders. The 12 percent portion of your dues payment is spent on the operational expenses of advocating for ATPE’s philosophy and policies (e.g., communication costs, travel expenses and lobbyists’ salaries). Because your dues dollars are not given to candidates or officeholders, ATPE-PAC is our only means of making campaign contributions. That is why your voluntary contributions to ATPE-PAC are so important. By choosing to support ATPE-PAC, you are investing in the education profession and helping us build powerful alliances with the decision-makers in the political and policy arena.

Making an investment in ATPE-PAC is very easy. You can contribute online or you can send your payment to us at 305 E. Huntland Drive, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78752. You can also spread your investment in ATPE-PAC out over the course of a one-year cycle. Simply set up a recurring pledge schedule, and each month we will deduct a payment in whatever amount you choose.

Other donation opportunities are available on ATPE’s membership applications and at state events such as ATPE at the Capitol and the annual ATPE Summit. ATPE encourages local leaders to collect donations at local unit and region meetings or organize fundraisers for ATPE-PAC. Additionally, each region has a designated PAC Diplomat, an ATPE member who can provide additional information about ATPE-PAC and assist regions in boosting their PAC fundraising efforts. Contact ATPE Governmental Relations for more information on how you can raise money for ATPE-PAC.

There are no limits on how much a member can invest in ATPE-PAC.

No. State and federal law prohibits ATPE from donating dues dollars to candidates or officeholders. For this reason, region or local unit funds may not be given to ATPE-PAC, but individual contributions are encouraged.

ATPE-PAC does not support any one political party. We make campaign contributions to officeholders and candidates based on their support for public education, regardless of their party affiliation.

Yes, campaign finance laws require us to identify the individuals who invest in ATPE-PAC.

No. Per federal income tax rules, ATPE-PAC investments used for political purposes are not tax-deductible.

Members who invest in ATPE-PAC are recognized for their contributions in ATPE publications and at ATPE events through the following awards: the William B. Travis Award, the Stephen F. Austin Award, the ATPE-PAC Statesman Award, and the ATPE-PAC Hall of Fame Award. Local units and regions that contribute the most money per member to ATPE-PAC are recognized through the Davy Crockett Fundraising Challenge.