ABA Political Action Committee
Why do we have the ABA Political Action Committee (PAC)?
What happens in the legislative and political arena often affects Alabama banks, their shareholders and customers. Political and legislative decisions affect our ability to do business.
The PAC allows Alabama bankers to pool their resources and support those who support the issues important to our segment of the industry. PACs provide an effective, legal, and ethical system for promoting the candidates and issues that we favor.
What does the PAC do?
The PAC, using an informed decision making process, contributes financial support to candidates for state office who have demonstrated a positive concern for issues important to the Alabama banking profession. The PAC also helps to fund grass roots initiatives supporting our legislative goals.
What do Alabama bankers get for their contributions to the PAC?
Alabama bankers get the chance to effectively support those who can have a positive impact on their profession. Elected officials supported by the PAC may not always agree with Alabama bankers on every issue, but they are likely to at least give the voice of Alabama banking a “seat at the table” and provide the profession timely access to their decision making process.
What if I’m opposed to the role of PACs and money in the political process?
The reality is that candidates must raise money to run their campaigns. Additionally, the legislative process involves relationships. The absence of involvement in the political process guarantees the lack of effective representation. The philosophies and experiences of those involved in the legislative process are reflected in the laws that are enacted. Contributing to the PAC ensures that Alabama bankers have influence into this crucial process.
Does the PAC contribute to candidates despite their political affiliation?
The ABA PAC is non-partisan in its selection of candidates to support; mere party label is not considered. The voting record and quality of each candidate determines who gets PAC support. The primary consideration of the ABA PAC is not what party a candidate is a member of, but rather whether that candidate will have a positive impact on legislation that affects community banking.
What do candidates do with the money they receive from the PAC?
Contributions received by candidates must be used in accordance with strict state laws. Generally speaking, most of the funds are used by candidates to “get their message out,” with mailings, flyers, events and so on. None of the funds can be used for personal use.
The ABA PAC Committee, made up of bankers, along with the association’s board of directors and its President, makes the decisions on distributing PAC funds. The decisions are based on several factors, including political research conducted by the PAC and the ABA, input provided by the association’s lobbying firm, E. Clark Richardson & Associates, and the insights provided by local bankers and their directors and shareholders. This research and input includes an assessment of a candidate's position on issues that impact banks in Alabama, an objective assessment of a candidate's electability, and the relative ability of the legislator to impact the profession via his or her legislative committee assignments and/or leadership position.
How much can our bank contribute?
Corporations, including state chartered financial institutions, along with their parent or subsidiary corporation(s), may contribute a maximum of $500 per state or local election, as identified by the Alabama Secretary of State (www.sos.state.al.us), to state candidates, state political parties or state political action committees. State or local elections include primaries, runoffs, special elections, referenda and general elections. For 2006, this limit is $10,500 based on twenty-one scheduled elections as of August 31st. For a specific listing of these elections, click on the following link to the Secretary of State at http://www.sos.state.al.us/elections/2013/2013Elections.aspx
National banks and federally chartered corporations are prohibited from contributing to state or local elections and state political action committees.
Holding companies of national banks, holding companies of federally chartered savings and loan associations and wholly owned subsidiaries of federally chartered savings and loan associations may contribute to state and local campaigns provided that contributed funds did not result from profits of the operation of the federally chartered entities.
State Political Action Committees (PAC’s) may contribute to the ABA PAC without limitations.
Must our commitment be paid all at once?
Since allowable contribution limits are calculated based on the number elections within a given year, PAC commitments should be made and paid within the period of a calendar year.
Can you send an invoice for the bank’s contribution?
ABA PAC invoices can be generated monthly, quarterly or annually, based on your preference.
Can bank directors and shareholders contribute to the PAC?
Yes. Bank directors and shareholders should be encouraged to contribute to the ABA PAC. After all, they have a direct interest in the success of your bank. With regard to contributions, individuals may contribute without limitation to the ABA PAC.
Some actually view PAC contributions as a cost of doing business and budget for it accordingly as they do other business related expenses.
While all allowable contributions are accepted and greatly appreciated, we suggest the following guidelines for contributions based on your bank’s size:
Does this PAC exist to benefit multi-state regional banks, “banks” such as those operated by State Farm, or even credit unions?
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