The importance of ASA-PAC
The American Supply Association’s Political Action Committee (ASA-PAC) is being revitalized by ASA’s new advocacy team. ASA-PAC is an integral component of ASA’s advocacy program and crucial to the success of ASA’s legislative and regulatory agenda in our nation’s capital.
Federal election law permits trade associations, along with unions and corporations, to sponsor PACs. However, the term “PAC” is really a euphemism for “separate, segregated fund,” meaning that a PAC must have a separate, segregated bank account from the trade association’s normal account. In addition, PACs must be registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), name a treasurer and file regular financial reports to the FEC.
The underlying philosophy of a PAC is to allow people with similar interests to pool resources to make more meaningful contributions to candidates to elected office. ASA-PAC raises funds from its association members and virtually all of its disbursements are made to congressional candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
A typical ASA-PAC disbursement is $1,000 for House candidates and $2,000 for Senate candidates, and PAC disbursements are limited to $5,000 per candidate per election ($5,000 for the primary election and $5,000 for the general election). ASA-PAC supports incumbents that have backed ASA’s legislative and regulatory agenda, and pro-business non-incumbents that can be expected to help advance ASA’s positions on key business issues.
But ASA-PAC is not nearly as big as it needs to be in order to maintain a presence in the political arena. Other construction-related PACs, such as Associated General Contractors, Associated Builders & Contractors and the National Electrical Contractors Association, raise roughly $1 million per two-year election-cycle, and the National Roofing Contractors Association raises $500,000. On the other hand, ASA-PAC isn’t even close to $100,000, which is why it is necessary to jumpstart the program for the remainder of the 2018 election-cycle and beyond.
ASA-PAC is crucial to the success of ASA’s government relations efforts and is the mechanism that helps ensure that elected officials hear the plumbing, heating, cooling and piping (PHCP) and pipe, valves and fittings (PVF) industry’s problems, positions and opinions. With critical issues concerning workforce development, immigration, taxes, energy, health insurance and the environment to name a few, it is more important than ever that ASA-PAC has the necessary funding to be effective for the association’s members in Washington, D.C., especially with an election coming soon followed by a new Congress.
By Craig Brightup