Get Your Voice Heard: ACCA-PAC
Federal election laws allow corporations, labor unions, and trade associations to create “separate segregated funds” that are supported with the voluntary contributions of employees, workers, and individual members as long as they are held separate from the general treasuries. Also known as political action committees, or PACs, these funds may be contributed to the election campaigns of federal candidates running for the U.S. House, Senate, and Presidential elections.
For many years, ACCA has had a PAC known as ACCA-PAC that accepts voluntary contributions from members and uses them to support candidates who support an agenda of lower taxes, fewer regulations, and more opportunities to grow and expand small businesses.
The rules dictate that a trade association like ACCA cannot solicit a contribution from an employee of a member company unless it has written authorization to do so. This requirement is not placed upon labor unions, which are free to divert a portion of union dues to the affiliated PAC. The rules also mandate that a member company may only grant the permission to solicit to one trade association per year.
ACCA-PAC is overseen by the ACCAPAC Task Force, chaired by Rich Imfeld of IC Refrigeration in Ceres, CA. The ACCA-PAC Task Force periodically reviews candidates and approves all expenditures to election Committees. Candidates must meet the requirements for disbursements set out in the ACCA-PAC bylaws, including the integrity and character of the candidates, the leadership positions held by the candidates, and their past voting record. ACCA supports both incumbents and challengers of both parties.
If you’d like more information about ACCA-PAC or want to know how to you can stay informed about how the upcoming elections will impact HVACR contractors, just fill out the form to grant prior approval at http://ie3go.ws/priorapp.
Granting prior approval does not obligate you to give a single penny to ACCA-PAC. But it will give you access to information about what’s going on in Washington that could impact your bottom line. By allowing ACCA to request a voluntary contribution, you will automatically receive the ACCA-PAC Confidential, a quarterly political newsletter written just for HVACR contractors.
ACCA-PAC has a winning track record of making Congress more ACCA-friendly. In the 2010 elections, ACCA-PAC supported 41 winning candidates, including Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who is now the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), the chair of the House Small Business Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Supporting a candidate for federal office lately is a bit more complicated with all the new campaign finance laws. The days of contributing to a candidate’s election committee or the national party of your choice are gone. Nowadays it seems everyone is watching the “Super PACs”, those committees that can raise and spend unlimited sums of money from individuals, corporations, unions, and other groups as long as they don’t coordinate with a particular candidate.
The cost of the 2012 federal elections (House, Senate, and President) are likely to top $3 billion. And for the first time in more than 35 years, the two presidential candidates will not accept any public money that comes from 1040 check off boxes in order to avoid the accompanying spending restrictions.
If you want your own personal political contribution to count, the safe bet is to get involved in one of the Congressional races, especially one where the incumbent is vulnerable.
Contributions that will make a difference will be made in the dozens of competitive House and Senate races. In some cases these are races where redistricting has changed the breakdown of a district. Other competitive races will be in districts where Republicans prevailed in 2010, but are defending Democrat majority districts.
As a result, candidates for the House and Senate are turning to the other sources of money now that many wealthy donors are donating six figures to the Super PACs. Which means they are looking more closely at trade associations with PACs like ACCA. In the 2010 election cycle, ACCA-PAC contributed nearly $100,000 to campaigns to help dozens of candidates win their races.
What many are calling the most important election in our nation’s history is a little more than four months away. Make sure you understand how to make your voice heard.
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