As a first step, AOPA must obtain prior written approval from member companies in order to promote the PAC and solicit contributions from the entire membership. To give prior approval, member companies sign an Authorization Card that identifies which employees, if any, they want PAC information sent to. The Authorization Card states that they have given this authorization to only one trade association for the calendar year.
Some companies have their own PAC and signing the O&P PAC Authorization Card does not affect the ability of employees to contribute to the company PAC. Signing this card does not obligate anyone to contribute. It just helps the PAC conform to the law and do a better job of furthering the impact of the PAC. To take this first step, complete and print the attached O&P PAC Authorization Card and mail or fax it to AOPA.
Once most of the member companies have signed the Authorization Card, the PAC can go onto the second step in the process: promoting the PAC to the entire membership.
Promoting O&P PAC to all members at one time allows AOPA to sponsor a greater variety of activities, which in turn makes it easier to raise PAC funds. Activities such as solicitation mailings, raffles, special events and receptions could be done on a larger basis with more members participating. Individual contributions can be accepted from any one person numerous times a year in any amount up to a limit of $5,000 per person, per year.
The FEC regulations include legal requirements that members need to be aware of. One of the most important is that all contributions must be from individuals.
Another is that PACs cannot accept contributions from corporations or foreign nationals nor can they accept cash contributions that exceed $100. In addition, contributors need to know that their PAC contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.
The regulations also state that certain disclaimers must be on solicitation materials. Two such disclaimers include:
“Contributions to the PAC are voluntary and you have the right to refuse without reprisal”, and
“To comply with Federal law, we must use best efforts to obtain, maintain, and submit the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of persons who give more than $200 per year.”
Although the regulations place a variety of limitations on O&P PAC activities, the PAC has started to grow. PAC Co-Chairs, Becker, Hawkins, and Watson, are committed to seeing O&P become a more active player in the health care field and in the political process. To help their efforts, all members should take the first step in this process and sign the PAC Authorization Card. Together, we can make a difference in the future of O&P.
For more information about the purpose of the O&P PAC or the Authorization Cards, you may contact:
- Rick Fleetwood at: (501) 664-2624 ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
- Devon Bernard at AOPA at (571) 431-0854 ( email@example.com )