With Election Day 2020 only one year away, it is the ideal time to remind our members of the importance of the NC CPA Political Action Committee (PAC). As it’s also October—a month of tales, legends, and lore—debunking a few common myths about PACs seems that much more appropriate.
Let’s get started…
Myth #1: PAC contributions buy votes and win elections.
While there is certainly a transactional element to PACs, their mechanics and objectives are often misunderstood. Compelling discussions plant the seed for legislative change; PACs provide an avenue to have those discussions. Much like a cold call in sales, it’s exponentially more likely you will get the ear and attention of a legislator if you have demonstrated prior support for his or her campaign.
For this reason, we often have NCACPA members deliver our PAC checks to legislators who represent them—it establishes rapport between two people to allow for open, ongoing discussion about issues affecting the accounting profession. With so many private interests and organizations vying for legislators’ time, a PAC is the most effective vehicle to get our foot in the door and have a stronger voice at the North Carolina General Assembly.
Myth #2: NCACPA membership dues go towards the PAC.
Political action committees are highly regulated by campaign finance laws—membership dues absolutely do not fund the NC CPA PAC. Additionally, PACs are prohibited from accepting corporate money (however, federal PACs may contribute to a state PAC within the same financial parameters as individuals).
A PAC may not accept, and a contributor may not give, more than $5,400 from a single donor per election. Many of our members donate to our PAC, as well as making personal contributions to legislators whom they support—this is completely acceptable and we encourage our members to participate in the political process in a way that is meaningful to them.
It is important to note, however, that the collective impact of a well-funded PAC sends a stronger, more cohesive message than the sum of donations from individuals directly to legislators. That, and our members are the sole source of funding for our PAC (and the reason it exists in the first place!).
Myth #3: The highest-dollar contributors decide where NC CPA PAC money goes.
As mentioned above, there are rigid campaign finance parameters in place for political action committees and candidates—no individuals are exempt from this rule.
A board of six NCACPA members oversee the nonpartisan NC CPA PAC and have final say on where our PAC dollars go. Many factors are considered when deciding which legislators we need to support. Has this legislator championed our legislative priorities? Do we have an existing relationship with a legislator who has supported our issues? Does this legislator serve on a select committee where our legislative priorities are deliberated?
Our PAC board comprises a broad variety of practice areas, locations, demographics, political ideologies, etc., and is committed to representing the shared interests of CPAs in North Carolina.
There you have it—a few of the most common PAC myths dispelled.
The NC CPA PAC has a fundraising goal of $50,000 for the 2020 election cycle. It goes without say, we believe we can garner that level of support from our members, whom we advocate for day in and day out.
We work on a broad range of issues considered by a number of different lawmakers. A well-funded PAC allows us to demonstrate support to a greater number of lawmakers reviewing our issues—both those candidates with whom we have a previously established relationship, and also new candidates deliberating the same set of issues.
Every dollar counts towards the collective goal we share—a stronger profession and business climate in North Carolina. Organized political action stretches a much longer way than individuals acting alone.
Consider donating $20.20 today to support the NC CPA PAC—your PAC.