The Outsiders Influencing Our Local Schools: Know the Facts
Unmasking the 1776 Project
For two years, a national SuperPAC has been raising millions of dollars from around the country and using that money to create fear and anger about talking-point issues like Critical Race Theory. Their efforts significantly helped to elect Jim McMullen to the Blue Valley school board in 2021; this year, they’re back and trying to fully take over. Why?
The focus is on political power, not on public education.
Since beginning fundraising in early 2022, the 1776 Project PAC has raised over $4 million to specifically target school board races across the country. While their message claims to be focused on “fighting critical race theory,” the true goal is much more straightforward: to build and hold far-right political power in off-year elections by promoting CRT as an existential threat to public education.
In 2023, this out-of-state collection of dark money is spending in over 30 school districts — including Blue Valley Schools here in Kansas — and partnering closely with Moms for Liberty for logistics and candidate support.
Follow the Money
Who are 1776 Project PAC's largest donors?
They're politicians, and they're not Kansans:
- Restoration PAC ($900,000, March 2022)
- WinRED ($1.1M)
- Florida donors ($212,000)
- Texas donors ($185,000)
- California donors ($140,000)
(Restoration PAC is a far-right conservative SuperPAC, essentially "dark money"; WinRED is a conservative partisan fundraising platform.)source: Federal Elections Commission
Over 99% of 1776 Project PAC's reported fundraising comes from out-of-state. Even if you exclude WinRED and Restoration PAC, half of their funds come from Florida, Texas, and California.
Surely some of their donors are from Kansas?
Based on data published through June 30, 2023, in the entire history of 1776 Project PAC's fundraising, there are 15 named donors from Kansas. (They're all big Brownback donors, by the way.)
What about you, Freedom to Learn? Aren't you a PAC?
We are a political action committee, yes, with two important differences:
- We are a Kansas-only PAC, which means we can only participate in advocacy within the state of Kansas. We're local.
- We really are local. Our donors and volunteers are all parents, teachers, community members, or former students of one of our great Kansas schools.
What does any of this have to do with Blue Valley Schools?
When Moms for Liberty and the 1776 Project PAC selected Blue Valley as one of their target school districts for 2023, they also selected a slate of candidates to endorse that they believe would best further their broader national political goals. In short: Moms for Liberty is the ground game, and 1776 Project spends large amounts of money in support of these candidates.
The "Blue Valley Excellence" slate of Vasquez, Huebner, Faagutu, and Hamilton is the 1776 Project / Moms for Liberty slate. Whatever their public messaging might suggest, they are part of a broader out-of-state extremist movement.
What else can I do?
We of course appreciate any financial contributions you can make in defense of our schools. It's too late in the election cycle for us to put those funds to work for November 7, but it's not too late to encourage your friends and family to also vote in support of the A+ Team.