Paul Dorr: School Bond Goliath-Slayer
By Jeff West
The following article appeared in the April 9, 2008 issue of The Times Examiner
As we all know, we pay exorbitant property taxes in S.C. for wasteful, anti-Christian government schools. Iowan Paul Dorr has acquired a reputation for organizing taxpayers to defeat outrageous school bond referendums through his business, Copperhead Consulting Services, and would undoubtedly find plenty of work here.
Mr. Dorr loves the South and as a student of history, especially of how government schools flourished after the Civil War, he named his company after the Copperheads, i.e. Northern sympathizers. He said, “There’s a lot of history in the last 135 years of this country that brings us to the present system of government education that we’re all cursed by today. It’s my personal conviction that the entire government education system is not to be found in God’s Word nor in our original covenants and constitutions, and that it was a Unitarian enterprise that launched in the 1830s and ‘40s and rapidly thereafter after the Civil War.
“My business now is organizing taxpayer groups...at the local level to challenge a government school’s bond issue...The local taxpayers will raise a budget and hire me...[to] coordinate the strategy...We’ve done 57 of them and defeated 49,..saving almost a billion dollars now in property taxes and keeping them away-defeating them, and burying them, where they just give up after two or three times. Usually if they keep trying against us we’ll increase the voter turnout and the ‘no’ vote will increase as well. The more they try, the more we educate the voters, and the more we inspire them to turn out.”
Dorr’s adventure began after he was unsuccessfully prosecuted for homeschooling. He added, “That started us on a further journey towards recognizing that government schools are the enemy of the Christian faith. I was done thinking in terms of getting people on the school board and trying to reform it...I finally told these different education groups, ‘Ours is not to try to reform this stuff, ours is to call upon the Christians to get out. And once we’re out and have our children protected and our own houses in order and our churches are in order, then we are to go back and go after them, and not stand back and live defensively and in fear of the government schools, but let’s go on the offense against them.’
Being a financial professional, some farmers asked him to organize against a bond referendum. He said, “It really surprised me how quickly the voters responded to some basic information...About 2000, 2001, it began to really crystalize for me, that we have to go after, in a much more aggressive way, the government educational systems. And...about the same time, the same farmers came back to me ten years later, it was a different school...Then I ran my first ad...and ‘Woof!’ here come the phone calls. And it turns out the campaign is the same...Pretty soon I started realizing, I can put all this stuff in a can, develop all the arguments once, and just customize it for each campaign and maybe begin to grow a business...
“A third of the Iowa auditors are just outraged by the way local government is raising bonds...[I]f they hear something that’s going on they...email me...They see the bureaucrats just plundering people...and no one is stopping them...So now we’re at the point where I’ll come and meet with a given community...
“By and large, throughout the Midwest, enrollment is going down...and general funding expenses are going up...You can just overlay the two on a graph and show the taxpayers: They don’t know how to stop their spending...There’s only one solution in their minds, and that’s more property taxes... I have never met a more dishonest class of people, there are some exceptions, than government school administrators. They have been trained in propaganda and deceit at every level...The nice thing about these campaigns is that we’ve drawn them out like they’ve never been drawn out before...
“My modus operandi is gracious aggressiveness. We will be tenacious and...as kind and as forebearing as we possibly can...” And God has blessed Paul Dorr with so many amazing victories that the bureaucrats are scared to death of him, which shows how God can use the faithful. A recent Minnesota victory, reminiscent of David slaying Goliath, is inspirational. Dorr relates: “I was hired to fight a $280 million budget override campaign...It was like walking up to the bully and punching him in the nose and walking away and not getting touched,...and they haven’t stopped screaming in the Twin Cities yet. They held a meeting about a month ago, with the superintendents of all the Metro school districts, and the Secretary of Education, the Department of Education of MN, and the top six legislators of the Appropriations and Education Committee, of what they were going to do with the crisis of funding of education in MN, particularly in the Twin Cities district. A reporter called me and said, ‘You know, I was covering this thing and they spent about half the morning talking about you.’
“I said, ‘Me! Me! What am I? I’ve got a remodeled garage for an office, sitting on the edge of a little town with a cornfield in the background, in Nowheresville, Iowa. The Twin Cities! They’ve got some massive political power structure. They have all the media, they have all the money you could possibly imagine. It’s not me, it’s the taxpayers, man. They’ve had it.”
Two years previously, the consultant for the second-largest bond dealer in MN had led a workshop entitled “Public Finance Selections and the Paul Dorr Factor: Get Ready or Get Defeated.” Thanks to widespread publicity, Dorr now has phone calls from all over. He said, “It’s the same everywhere you go. People are desperate for leadership...We did one in the ranch country of South Dakota, a $28 million thing...We had one family, five generations of ranchers, they haven’t borrowed money in their whole lives, in five generations, and they walked up and said, ‘We don’t have leadership in the pulpits, and we don’t have leadership in the local government. The problem, this is almost spiritual here tonight. Finally, someone will lead us and show us what we can do.’ And I see that everywhere, people are just so desperate for moral leadership and courage. I’m thankful my pastor regularly prays that God would give us the spirit of courage...Once your fear is in the Lord, and you live by faith, and not by fear of these people, you can start to see ordinary people start doing some miraculous things, and things they never saw themselves possibly doing before.”
South Carolina could use the talents of Paul Dorr to defeat our extravagant school bond referendums. If any groups would like to hire him he will come here to help defeat any referendums or to train others to do so. Mr. Dorr can be contacted at (712) 758-3660. We should see Paul Dorr’s example and remember that, just like David slew Goliath, God can use us to accomplish anything for His glory if we will just have the faith and courage to do His will.