Sleazy Attacks on Pro-Public School Candidates

Posted 8/1/19

The mudslinging is in full force! Direct mail attack ads are showing up in mailboxes, and they have a couple of common themes:

   • they are funded by Empower Mississippi, the pro-voucher group funded out of D.C. and San Francisco

   • they target candidates who have run pro-teacher, pro-public education campaigns

It appears that Empower attempted to distance itself from the sleazy mailers by funneling its money through a couple of PACs, the Mississippi First PAC, run by former senator Merle Flowers, and the Freedom Mississippi PAC, the brand new poster child for what's wrong with today's politics.

The Freedom Mississippi attack pieces landed in mailboxes last Friday, but when concerned citizens checked with the Secretary of State's (SOS) office to find out who was behind it, there was no such PAC on file. Here's what unfolded:

   • the attack piece was mailed on Thursday, July 25 (PACs that spend more than $200 have 48 hours to file with the SOS)

   • the form was back-dated July 25 and faxed to the Secretary of State's office on Sunday, July 28

   • the form was uploaded by the SOS on Monday, July 29

What's more troubling is the PAC filing itself. The address listed for the PAC is the address of a UPS Store in Southaven, the number it was faxed from is that of a FedEx store in Southaven, and the sections on the form for email address and phone number are left empty. The contact person listed is "Mike Elliott," who apparently runs a PAC but has no phone number or email address. Anybody know Mike Elliott?

One more entry for our timeline...

   • Empower Mississippi gave $15,000 to the Freedom Mississippi PAC on Saturday, July 27

Here's the bottom line. There are lots of PACs out there, some good, some bad. NOTE WHO'S CLAIMING RESPONSIBILITY for any hit piece. If you get a mailer from Freedom Mississippi PAC, Mississippi First PAC (MFPAC), or Empower Mississippi, it's pretty safe to assume that the person they're attacking is pro-teacher and pro-public schools. You might want to remember that when you go to the polls.

Next Tuesday is our day! It's the day we get to cast our votes for candidates who respect and support our teachers and our public schools. We are asking teachers to go to the polls en masse and bloc vote for pro-teacher candidates. We've suggested 4:30 p.m. If that time doesn't work for your school, settle on another time - just go together and VOTE with your teacher voice!

If you can't vote next Tuesday, be sure to vote absentee at your circuit clerk's office by noon this Saturday, August 3. Want to help out? Text to friends and post on social media this absentee voting reminder:VoteAbsentee