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GAWTP’s Endorsement Process

Welcome to Grassroots America’s Voter Information Center

Updated 2.17.14 

Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here! This is your one-stop place for educating yourself before you vote. We’ve put hundreds of hours into this all-volunteer effort to offer a variety of conservative voter guides/scorecards, candidate videos, and links to important information. If you’re looking for a liberal, progressive, Big Government approach, please exit now – you’ll only be frustrated! If you’re looking for a go-along to get-along, “70 – 80% is good enough” mindset while the Constitution is daily being shredded, or a GOP establishment-appeasing rating system for candidates where the only thing that matters is an “R” behind their name, you’re in the wrong place! However, if you’re looking for candidates who understand that the threat to our liberty is Republican AND Democratic expansion of government and cronyism, you’re in the right place.

Our history – our mission

Instituted in 2009 in Smith County, Texas, Grassroots America has not only become a major political force in East Texas, but the organization has garnered statewide influence due to its legislative work in Austin. Grassroots America’s executive director campaigned with Ted Cruz in his successful bid for the U.S. Senate race. Senator Cruz won Smith County with 53% of the vote and the race with 57% of the statewide vote.

Grassroots America’s mission is to organize, educate, and inform citizens about public policy and to support the election of local, state, and national candidates who share our core values of constitutionally limited government, free markets (not corporate welfare), fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, and traditional values rooted in America’s Judeo-Christian heritage.

 

Grassroots America exposes failures in political leadership that impair sound public policy, leading to government expansion and a loss of freedom. Conversely, we support and defend political leadership that works to restrict government to its constitutional limits, thus advancing individual liberty.


Rules for endorsement requests outside of Smith County

Now that Grassroots America has statewide influence, our endorsement is in high demand. This puts an enormous strain on the all-volunteer Board to deeply vet candidates; therefore, we have enacted the following rule. If a US House, a Texas House, a Texas Senate or State Board of Education candidate is outside the Smith County voting district, they must be challenging an incumbent with a D or F conservative rating (or an incumbent with serious ethical breaches) in order to qualify for a board interview. We are not attempting to set the bar too low, but we must work to weed out the worst of the worst first. If an incumbent is outside Smith County’s voting district and has a consistent, across-the-board A or B conservative rating, they may earn a review and possible endorsement from the board. This rule is necessary to insulate the Board from the barrage of requests, which are impossible for us to judiciously field, vet, and render a wise decision.

Based on her two legislative sessions in Austin as Chairman of the Texas Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus Advisory Committee and her extensive knowledge of incumbents and challengers, the Board of Directors has given the current Executive Director, JoAnn Fleming, the authority to endorse in Texas House, Texas Senate, and US House races for districts outside Smith County. She is authorized to use her title as our executive director in these endorsements because we trust her judgment. She is the only member of the Board of Directors with the authority to endorse in this manner.

The Endorsement Process

Pursuant to Texas Ethics Commission rules and statutes, Grassroots America – We the People is registered as a General Purpose Political Action Committee (GenPAC). GAWTP is also filed as a 527 with the IRS. GAWTP has thus met legal requirements to endorse candidates at all levels of government and to take positions on legislation and ballot measures. As a GenPAC and a 527, we are required to disclose donors; donations are not tax deductible. GAWTP does not solicit donations to give to candidates; however, we do encourage our supporters to make donations directly to the candidates of their choice and not to political parties.

The Board of Directors of Grassroots America – We the People sets a very high standard for granting endorsements. Endorsement of a candidate is a serious matter. We don’t make endorsements in order to participate in a popularity contest. We don’t make endorsements based on appeasing interested groups. We thoroughly and intensely vet candidates by checking into their stated qualifications, credentials, training, experience, and voting records. We hold candidate forums and debates, attend forums held by other organizations, review candidate web sites, questionnaires, Facebook and Twitter postings. We seek to determine the character, core values, temperament, judgment, management style, and practical vision of the candidates. In many cases, we hold candidate interviews in order to get to know the candidates much better than a thirty- or sixty-second sound bite will allow. If allegations arise about a candidate, we dig deep to get to the bottom of the claims before we make a decision. In particular, if a local candidate is found using baseless rumors, undocumented/unsubstantiated allegations, mud-slinging, and lies to promote their candidacy and to tear down another candidate, their own unprincipled actions will disqualify them from consideration of endorsement – no matter how much money they raise, no matter their other endorsements, and no matter their resume. 

A higher than three-fourths majority vote (7 of 9 board members) in support of a candidate is required for an endorsement. If the seven-vote consensus is not met, GAWTP will not endorse in that particular race. This does not mean that all candidates are unsuitable. It simply means that no single candidate received seven votes. In the rare situation where the Board deems two candidates in a race equally meet our high standards, we will state both are equally endorsed. “Endorsement” versus “Recommendation” – a recommendation means the vetting process yielded information which prevented a vote of endorsement; however, the Board recommends* the candidate possessing the most favorable attributes for serving in the office under consideration.

While GAWTP networks with many statewide conservative public policy groups and political action committees, and highly values and respects the work of those sister organizations, GAWTP remains independent and does not endorse a candidate simply because “everyone else is doing it.” Once we issue an endorsement, we will do everything we can to ensure these candidates are successful; we will also do everything we can to hold them accountable for the oath they take to serve the People and for the promises they make during their campaigns.

Grassroots America does not take political contributions from candidates during the primary vetting and endorsement process.  The only exception to this rule – if Grassroots America is hosting its Champion of Freedom Awards dinner, and it falls in a primary election cycle, a candidate may buy a ticket or a table for the event; however, the purchase of seating for such an event will not be considered in the endorsement process.

Grassroots America does not seek government grants of any kind, nor would it accept gold bars from the government if they were handing them out on a street corner. Grassroots America is not for sale.

Those interested in our PAC reports – which are public record – can be found on the Texas Ethics Commission website. Visit:  http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/paclists.htm