The Mississippi House Democratic Victory Political Action Committee made headlines four years when conservatives were at the cusp of gaining control of the Mississippi House. VPAC, as it’s commonly referred to, played a major role in the Democrats’ push to maintain control of the House in many districts around the state. VPAC helped elect Democrats in districts many saw as safe Republican as well as helped retain seats that may have otherwise flipped.
We are seeing a similar scenario play out once again this election year.
Four years ago, only a hand full of us saw the bigger picture – we knew we had to get the liberals out of control in the Mississippi House and that meant sending Speaker Billy McCoy and his leadership team packing. We campaigned, went on radio and wrote articles speaking on the need to give Mississippi’s House a good conservative cleaning in the 2007 election. The conservative surge we have seen over the past couple of years was not as prevalent then, yet we came within one vote of firing McCoy and his Boys.
It was thanks to VPAC that the Democrats retained the House in 2007. How did they have such an impact? Glad you asked…
At the time, the Democratic candidates running in conservative districts would not openly align themselves with VPAC, knowing full well that if they did, the liberal connection would be much too evident and would hurt them in their bid for office. It was these same Democrats that were being pressed to tell voters who they would vote for for Speaker if they won. As liberals do in Mississippi, they rode the fence and never directly answered the question. However, once the post-election campaign finance reports came out, everyone knew where these Democrats would align themselves because it was revealed that they had received thousands of dollars from Speaker Billy McCoy’s VPAC whether in the form of in-kind services or direct contributions. The proof was not evident prior to the vote – most even denied they were getting any of VPAC’s funds – but it was there in black and white just after the election.
One of the most talked about Democrats that hid their allegiance to Speaker McCoy and VPAC and then received VPAC funds after the election is Rep. Brandon Jones in House District 111. Jones received some $25,000 from VPAC as in-kind services just prior to the election, essentially funding his campaign materials and freeing up his other cash in a hard fought election. Yet, this of course was not reported until the election had passed, allowing Jones to not reveal his true liberal allegiances, despite calls from his opponent and others to own up to these ties. Knowing such help and funds were forth coming allowed Jones to outspend his Republican challenger and win by an 11 vote margin. Jones then went on to become one of the deciding votes that placed McCoy back in the Speaker’s seat.
Jones is not alone in such actions; it happened four years ago across the state and it will happen again this year. But this election year, we must not be fooled by this political game the state liberals play at our expense. Conservatives must be diligent to track VPAC and make the connections early. Some, like Jones in 2007, will not receive funds from VPAC until after the election. It is up to you, the voters, to press these Democratic House candidates on if they will accept VPAC funds, direct or in-kind, and then on whom they will support for Speaker.
VPAC’s latest finance report is out and it gives us a good indicator on where allegiances lie and to the tact VPAC is taking in these elections. Here are some highlights:
• Rep. Cecil Brown handles VPAC’s reporting. VPAC reports that to date they have raised some $261,000 and disbursed $250,000 with $23,000 cash on hand. They raised $133,000 and disbursed $125,000 this period alone.
• Contributors to VPAC include: Ameristar Casino ($5,000), Rep. Billy Broomfield, Billy McCoy ($10,000), Rep. Credell Calhoun, Rep. Bob Evans ($1,000), Rep. George Flaggs, Rep. Cecil Brown ($15,000), Rep. John Mayo ($1,500), Rep. Johnny Stringer ($9,000), Mike Moore Law Firm ($2,000), Dick Molpus ($10,000), Rep. Percy Watson ($2,000), Rep. Randall Patterson, Rep. Tyron Ellis ($1,000), Rep. Willie Bailey ($2,000), and others.
• VPAC’s latest disbursements or contributions include: Rep. Bennett Malone, Rep. Bo Eaton ($1,000), and a variety of consulting services such as Casserino Consulting ($6,000), Cunningham Associates ($19,500), Durell Communications ($8,000), Mack/Crounse Consultants ($56,000) and others.
As you can see, VPAC has not made many direct contributions nor have many Democratic House candidates listed any in-kind or direct support from VPAC at this point. All of these consulting disbursements are for Democratic House campaign work throughout the state, but most candidates will not report these in-kind services being paid on their behalf until after the election, essentially fooling the voter. Conservatives must make this an issue and demand transparency, especially from those Democrats who claim to be conservative and “independent” of their party. Democrats that accept these VPAC funds will vote to elect a liberal House Speaker in January.
It is refreshing to see so much attention given to the House this election year. Four years ago was a testing ground – now is the real battle. Conservative around the state must follow the money because it does tell a story. And past experience teaches us all that VPAC’s funds tell a very liberal story for Mississippi and the state House.
We must finish the job and finally give the Mississippi House a good conservative cleaning this November.