Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) is the most politically active group in Texas dedicated to issue advocacy on behalf of homeschool parents and families. The THSC is made of three organizations, THSC – a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, THSC PAC – a state focused political action committee, and the THSC Association – a 501(c)(4) non-profit focused on advocacy efforts.
The three THSC organizations collectively work to promote and advance policies they believe benefit homeschool families, as well as support parents and students looking for more choice and competition in the K-12 education system. In addition to promoting homeschooling to the general public, and providing tools and resources to make homeschooling more easily accessible, THSC also works to elect pro-parental rights and pro-homeschool candidates to office. THSC’s PAC has made major splashes in the last few election cycles as they’ve significantly ramped up their political activities.
1.Top Payee is Another PAC?
The THSC PAC’s largest payee, Constituents Focus PAC, focuses on assisting conservative candidates running for office. Their strategy tends to center on incentivizing and encouraging candidates to do the hard work necessary to win campaigns, especially when challenging an incumbent with more money, including block walking and face-to-face time with donors and voters. While it is not the norm for PACs to contribute financially to one another, when they share common goals, these expenditures become easier to justify as they are ultimately deemed beneficial for both PACs.
2. Against The Status Quo
THSC PAC has demonstrated its willingness to go against the more moderate-leaning members of the Republican caucus in both chambers of the Capitol. Clearly, the status quo isn’t good enough in their eyes. They have supported several conservative incumbents and challengers including State Representative Tony Tinderholt, Thomas McNutt, and State Representative Briscoe Cain. Under current Speaker of the Texas House, Joe Straus, THSC hasn’t seen many of their priority bills move through Texas’ lower chamber. This fact is likely the reason why THSC’s PAC has been so willing to openly support conservative challengers and oppose many moderate Republican incumbent legislators.
3. Backing Those Who Lead
State Senator Bryan Hughes, one of top recipients of money from THSC’s PAC, has sponsored SB 874 in the 85th Legislative Session. This bill would amend part of the Family Code and require Child Protective Services to finish cases in 18 months – proving abuse and/or neglect from the parents – or the case would be dismissed. Regarding the importance of this legislation, THSC often refers to a 2013 court case involving custody in a homeschool family. The case took over 3 years to complete, and eventually ended with the parents keeping custody after it was proven they’d done nothing wrong. THSC PAC’s investment of nearly $40,000 in State Sen. Hughes’ race demonstrates their willingness to financially support those men and women they believe will step up and lead during the legislative session.
Most interesting donation:
THSC’s PAC gave $10,000 during the 2016 cycle to Wayne Christian, the newest member of the Texas Railroad Commission. The Railroad Commission is heavily involved in overseeing and regulating the oil and gas industry in Texas. So what does Commissioner Christian have to do with homeschooling? THSC’s PAC has a track record of supporting the most conservative candidate in any race they get involved in. It seems that Commissioner Christian’s past work as a stalwart conservative in the Texas House convinced THSC to throw their support behind him. While he may not legislate or oversee their particular issue, THSC likely believes it’s better to have a friend occupy a powerful statewide office than a foe.
Our Capitol Crowd series outlines and highlights the politicians, advocacy groups, and donors that have the biggest impact during the 140-day legislative session. Check back throughout the session for updates.