At The Capitol
FAQs about donating to ATPE-PAC
The ATPE Political Action Committee (ATPE-PAC) accepts voluntary donations and uses them to make campaign contributions to officeholders/candidates who support public education and ATPE’s philosophies. ATPE-PAC solicits donations 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 for a comprehensive member-driven 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 national 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 election arena.
ATPE-PAC contributions to officeholders/candidates are based on numerous factors, which often include:
- Input from the ATPE Board of Directors, local unit and region presidents, and other politically active members.
- Candidate surveys and voting records.
- Officeholder/candidate support of public education and ATPE’s professional nonunion philosophy.
- The opportunity for increased recognition of ATPE.
- Leadership roles of the officeholder/candidate.
- Meetings and interviews with officeholders/candidates.
- Campaign finance reports.
- Campaign viability assessments based on research by the ATPE lobbyists and other sources.
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.
Does ATPE make campaign contributions to candidates for federal office?
No. ATPE-PAC is a state-level committee regulated in Texas, and it is not set up to make contributions to candidates for federal office, such as seats in the U.S. House or U.S. Senate. Most recipients of ATPE-PAC contributions are candidates or officeholders in the Texas Legislature or on the State Board of Education.
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, they 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.
None of your dues dollars are used to make PAC contributions to candidates or officeholders. State and federal law prohibits ATPE from donating dues dollars directly to candidates or officeholders. The portion of your dues payment associated with lobbying is spent on the operational expenses of advocating for ATPE’s philosophy and policies (e.g., communication costs, travel expenses, and lobbyists’ salaries). ATPE-PAC is our only means of making campaign contributions directly to candidates. 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 here, 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. Simply set up a recurring pledge schedule, and we will deduct a payment in whatever amount you choose on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Other PAC donation opportunities are available on ATPE’s membership applications, at state events such as ATPE at the Capitol and the annual ATPE Summit, and during local unit or region meetings. ATPE hosts various fundraisers throughout the year, including silent auctions and merchandise sales, in which you can bid on or purchase items while also contributing to ATPE-PAC.
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 directly to candidates or officeholders. For this reason, region or local unit funds may not be donated directly to ATPE-PAC, and we only solicit PAC donations from individual ATPE members, staff, and their families using their personal funds rather than ATPE dues dollars.
Can my local unit or region collect money for ATPE-PAC?
ATPE encourages our leaders to collect donations at local unit and region meetings or organize fundraisers for ATPE-PAC. Contact the ATPE Governmental Relations Political Involvement Coordinator for more information on how you can raise money for ATPE-PAC. ATPE staff can provide ideas for fundraising activities, guide you in securely transmitting PAC funds back to the state office, and help you understand rules and restrictions on PAC fundraising. (For example, ATPE-PAC donations may not be solicited from sources outside of the ATPE community, and raffles are generally prohibited as a PAC fundraiser.)
ATPE-PAC does not support any one political party. We make campaign contributions to officeholders and candidates regardless of their party affiliation, based instead on their support for public education and ATPE’s philosophy.
Yes, campaign finance laws require us to identify the individuals who invest in ATPE-PAC.
No. Per federal income tax rules, ATPE-PAC investments are used for political purposes and are therefore 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. With the exception of the ATPE-PAC Hall of Fame and Davy Crockett Fundraising Challenge awards, many PAC awards are mailed directly to PAC honorees prior to the ATPE Summit.
ATPE-PAC awards are based on previous year donations. For example, if you meet the donation threshold for any of the awards referenced above between the dates of August 1, 2020, through July 31, 2021, you will be recognized at a 2022 ATPE-PAC Honoree.