Crash Course In Political Action Committees

Ok friends time for a crash course in Political Actions committees – brought to you by the Nutty Professor who sent out this email using a stolen data base and from a position of ignorance – so let’s help the professor.

He wrote this email and put my name on it as if I sent it out -juvenile and just slightly criminal -hey but email him and thank him for the opportunity to learn something new.

Chris Simcox

From: []
Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 7:52 PM
Subject: MINUTEMAN PAC seeking candidates in AZ

Minuteman Civil Defense Corps is seeking candidates in Arizona who are qualified to receive donations from PACs. If you are getting this email, you are running for office in 2008 and may qualify for a donation from Chris Simcoxs’ MCDC or Minuteman PAC.

The Minuteman PAC has taken in over $1.2M this year, and has only donated $10K to candidates nationally. With all that money sitting around collecting interest from folks who donated to help enforce immigration laws, Im sure you wonderful candidates could put it to use in these last few weeks of our Presidential Elections. You can see the detailed Minuteman PAC funding availability by visiting :

Just think, your candidacy may be able to collect $100, $500, or even $5000 in donations from a PAC. Minuteman PAC has been taking donations every year for the past 3 years just for you, its time you asked for it! Use it for mailings, phone calls, your campaigns cost money! These PACs are for you! With $1.2M taken in, and only $10K donated to national candidates, there just might even be enough money to fight off Prop 200 here in Arizona!

To be considered for a donation from Minuteman PAC, please call or email Chris Simcox, President of MCDC. A check could be waiting for you in the mail tomorrow!

Chris Simcox or 480-652-1638

Semper Vigilans!

Stacey O’Connell

My Response

Dear Friends and Activists:
A benefit of being a volunteer with or keeping up with the activities of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps is citizen education. Through our communications and action we all have a golden opportunity to learn about the political landscape, and master how effective political action works. I have learned so much more than I had ever imagined I would have to. From the International Boundaries and Waterways Commission who control the 60-foot right-of-way that is our northern and southern borders, to land use laws — it has been a journey that has taken me deep into the system that is our government and in essence what is America. We have learned how non-profit advocacy is a tool for the people to lobby and hold elected representatives accountable. We have learned how to staff, train and deploy volunteers in the field and in the people’s houses from D.C. to almost every state capital.  Part of this has been learning the crucial distinctions between “federal” and “state” government — and their distinct and separated respective powers, reach, authority, and regulatory structures and bureaucracies.
More for the benefit of our missing “instructor” than our more savvy citizen pupils, here goes. Some people understand the importance of our mission and ARE ACTIVISTS VOLUNTEERING OUR TIME TO ACHIEVE A GOAL. Our dedicated volunteers have steadfastly stood behind the initial vision, understood my plan and believed in what has developed into the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps comprehensive approach to a deadly serious problem. Since then many people have provided the brains and muscle that has built a Juggernaut of an active grassroots majority. Thanks go to so many who have helped me and my executive team of Carmen Mercer and Al Garza refine and judge our next steps in deployment of assets to fulfill the mission to reform border security and fix the broken immigration system — our goals are being realized — but none of the positive developments we have effected, like the stunning defeat of Amnesty legislation instead of the Feds addressing border security enforcement first — would ever have happened if for not a multi-faceted, multi-battlefield “comprehensive approach”.

Trust me, I knew from day one that dragging my lawn chair, my binoculars, my peanut radio and my cell phone down to the border and announcing “Enough is Enough” I took the great risk of being just a boy who cried wolf. I alone would never be enough to solve a problem this big — this effort needed all of you together to tackle the crisis and win a huge victory for all the people and these United States.
But sitting in that lawn chair and then the pride I felt when so many answered the call and dared to challenge the status quo — I will always have the deepest respect for every person who volunteered time on the border — because without every one of you, I would have been just one lone man sitting in a lawn chair trying to keep my finger in the dam — today seven years later we are building a brand new and improved dam, and putting our feet down by passing laws and reforming a lost paradigm of a law abiding, better-ordered society, where everyone plays by the rules and the rules are the same for everyone.
Today we are getting the job done — and yet we have so much to do to reach the goal line — which is why I honor your patience and ask that you indulge me a little more with the honor of your presence in our class today. Unfortunately the instructor is absent, so I will fill in for Professor O’Connell.
And after class I encourage you to respond by email or phone to thank Professor O’Connell for arranging this most informative crash course on POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES 101. We must all reach out and thank the individual who illegally lifted many of your emails to build a data base he personally exploits to bring you this educational opportunity.

Please understand the urgent necessity to approach the problem from many different angles. We work on our borders assisting Border Patrol and providing life saving assistance to those we find lost and abused in the desert. However, what we have learned goes much further.
It seems a former volunteer has provided an opportunity for us all to lean more about how Political Action Committees — federal PACs, work in the political process, as part of our larger mission.
Somehow along the way some who were volunteers misunderstand, jump to conclusions or just plain don’t understand the specifics, which are vitally important to understand if the PACs and the non-profits are to operate within federal law and fulfill their purposes.


Bullet Points

Constitutional Republic, democratic elected form of representation.
People care about issues — the people direct the government — if government does not do what the people want
problems arise
people organize to educate others and build coalition with others who are like minded
organizations grow to educate and launch multi-aspect policy and issue advocacy campaign
voters elect and unseat candidates
people keep track of all of them and hold them accountable
organizations work to keep you informed of progress on reform of specific issues.

As MCDC we seized the opportunity and have developed an organization that works with other like minded organizations to achieve our goals. Developing a PAC is another important aspect of advancing our reform movement and is ultimately a net positive benefit for the policies of MCDC.
Thus people represent us as politicians — we want contact with those candidates. As a PAC we bring your voice on our issue directly to those who can vote for change.
We have the opportunity to vet and get to know the elected official or candidate through personal contact and through researching voting records but frankly how many of us have the time to do all that?
Thus is born MCDC a 501-C-4 non-profit community service border security anti-illegal immigration POLICY REFORM ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION. There are thousands of policy advocacy groups in the U.S.A. covering every issue known to mankind — so far.
Then there are PACS. They are separate entities and are controlled by the rules set forth by both the FEC and the IRS.
These are strict and burdensome regulations and rules; it is a tremendously difficult task to create and manage such organizations, especially when the purpose is to embarrass the elected body in D.C. and expose a national disgrace.
There are 2 kinds of PACS – federal PACS and state PACS. They are separate entities, with separate and distinctly difficult reporting requirements, bank accounts, expenditure restrictions, limitations, and on and on.
We in the Minuteman movement have created 2 Federal PACS — we have NO ARIZONA STATE PAC at this point. Thus, not to fecklessly contradict the professor, but our MINUTEMAN FEDERAL PACS CANNOT CONTRIBUTE TO OR WORK IN ANY WAY TO DIRECTLY SUPPORT CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR STATE LEVEL OFFICE.
Got it? It’s ok, I encourage you to read that again so we all know what the facts are — the professor might pull a pop quiz on you — I want you be prepared.  Let’s continue.
Minuteman Civil Defense Corps PAC is a federal non-profit membership PAC. All registered MCDC volunteers and supporters who do not opt-out are the membership base of that PAC. We can only fundraise from those MCDC PAC members for specific Minuteman candidates running for FEDERAL OFFICE.
The Minuteman PAC is an open federal PAC; we can solicit for donations and voter support nationwide — it is not a simple or inexpensive endeavor, however necessary, to continue to educate and influence public opinion in order to lead a reform movement. By reaching out to a mass audience advocating by mail, phone and email to likely voter households all over the country, we seek to keep our issues high-profile, and recruit new support.  The Executive Director is Brett Farley, and he is a very experienced political operative and consultant with Washington, DC experience.
Now hopefully you better understand the conceptual foundation of our “big picture” IN TERMS OF ACHIEVING THE GOALS of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps — we need to widen and diversify our advocacy in order to ultimately politically prevail.
In regards to our Minuteman PAC and our Minuteman Civil Defense Corps Political Action Committees, in general the rules and regulations governing PACs are tightly focused between either federal offices and initiatives, or state-level offices and initiatives — in this election cycle, our PAC organizations HAVE SPENT A MAJORITY OF THEIR EFFORTS AND BUDGETS ON FEDERAL POLICY AND ISSUE ADVOCACY PROJECTS, AND INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES AGAINST OBAMA, with a strategic view to the inevitable 2008 outcome of both a Congress and an Executive Administration more hostile to our Minuteman agenda, and the consequent need for us to build a larger national base.
Once again, PACS work in a variety of ways to help educate people about legislative, policy and advocacy issues. A political action committee is not necessarily specifically in business to give money to candidates, and this is especially not the priority if the limited contributions allowable under federal law cannot change the outcome of the election.
All organizations must balance the need to advocate on core issues, and contribute directly to a given candidate. You can research all non-profits and PACs, and analyze their ratio of direct monetary contributions to campaigns, and funds spent on independent expenditures versus the costs of advocacy and fundraising mailings. But any meaningful analysis also needs to make sure it is looking at the discretionary use of NET contributions, not gross income to an advocacy organization, as the costs of advocacy are prohibitively high. Any fair assessment of how effective a mass-messaging organization is politically cannot possibly be made without accounting first for successful recovery of the cost of nationwide advocacy projects.
Most political action committees will have overhead, in that I mean real expenses, setting up bank accounts, attorney fees, filing fees, accountants, phones, and very significant regulatory and reporting burdens. There are tremendous up-front postage and printing costs, website management, data base management, and yes in the free market economy some people make a living by providing professional services to organizations and businesses.
Some PACS give “some” money directly to candidates, but let’s face the facts: no organization can raise any money without educating donors about an issue and keeping that issue prominent in the minds of voters over the long term — and that is accomplished through print media and direct mailing. Renting lists, paying for mailings and postage is an immense expenditure to get any organizing and advocacy “on the map” — it is an initial investment to build a loyal base of activists and supporters, and financial contributors. Still we continue reaching out to educate a wider audience, to develop a base of voters and donors who believe enough in fixing the problem and appreciate our efforts to inform them and advocate for them. And they show that appreciation for our efforts eventually in the form of a donation. It’s an investment in an advocacy issue campaign for change – over the long term.  It is an investment in America’s survival.
Some PACS choose to write, produce and buy print ads or air time to run self produced T.V. and radio ads targeted to either support a candidate’s record or more importantly to run ads to educate the voters on a specific candidates’ bad voting record on issues – our issues are border security, a fence and resolving the illegal alien mess.
If a PAC runs ads, they are paid for by the PAC and run without the knowledge or consent of the candidate — there can be no contact between a candidate and an official of a PAC to strategize or plan an independent expenditure ad campaign. Both the MCDC PAC and Minuteman PAC ran ads in 2006 for some of over a dozen FEDERAL candidates for whose campaigns we either first endorsed, or gave direct money. We were fortunate to be able to raise and spend these additional funds to run independent expenditure ad campaigns in favor of some of our embattled “good guys” and to go after some bad candidate’s voting record or stance on our issues.
Another way to help a candidate is to endorse with the support of the PAC or in personal name as I have done on occasion. Sometimes a candidate might not want the official endorsement of a person or organization but they certainly don’t mind independent campaigns against their challenger. In 2006 our PAC spent funds to travel to personally educate voters in specific campaigns around the country by holding press conferences to endorse in person, or speak at fundraisers for the candidate who we deemed strongest on our issue.
I do all of that as honorary spokesperson for a PAC that supports our issues.
I am only the honorary spokesperson and issue consultant for our PACS.
I am not on the board of directors, nor am I involved with the day-to-day management of either PAC. Because of stringent IRS and FEC regulations, to do so would potentially pose conflict of interest difficulties with our non-profit organization.
The PAC works with me to educate me, so that I can then help educate you, by bringing to your attention the news about, voting records, legislation and policy and to look at certain candidates. We do the leg work to meet with legislators and candidates to interview them about the issue so we can make our “educated” choice of supporting or not supporting a bill, a policy or a candidate.
Again, I’m going to stress the point of how a PAC can help candidates by alerting the voter that a problem or a political opportunity exists.
This is an organization of many people who advocate for change with solutions.
Every dollar spent on advocacy, print media, radio media, T.V., personal contact with elected officials or candidates, website, and personal appearances all require funding and are real costs — as do all the endless cycle of activist supporter, constituency and donor solicitation. That’s not to mention we are compelled by law to show due diligence and thoroughly account for and regularly report all funds raised and spent.
Those funds are put to work thoroughly vetting a candidate before we put our support behind them, and we look at a wide spectrum of issues, not just a person’s stance on border security and illegal immigration. Time and money is spent on researching voting records, researching the ability of the candidate to successfully fundraise, writing press releases, maintain the website — all these efforts cost time and money.
So in conclusion class, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps PAC and the Minuteman PAC are out there working with you and many thousands of others who support our efforts to advocate for them on our issues.
We have been successful in helping to educate millions of voters who have in turn helped elect strong leaders in the federal Congress and the U.S. Senate who will work to help us achieve our goals over the long haul.
Please go to our websites to learn more about our mission statement our educational efforts and to see a list of candidates whom we heartily support because of their support of our platform, and their stance on our issues.
We hope you continue to keep your eye on the prize and educate others and tell others to support our efforts.
Any day you have the opportunity to learn and expand your understanding of your world is a good day. Today we all learned something that will help us move forward with a better understanding of how we can be more effective… some us us have learned lessons of an entirely different kind.
Remember I’m just today’s guest substitute teacher — if you have complaints or questions please contact the nutty professor directly at
Thanks for listening,
Chris Simcox


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