WASHINGTON (12/2/08)—Credit union political fundraising hit a significant milestone in the 2007-2008 election cycle, raising a record $4 million through the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA’s) Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC). CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica said the achievement places credit unions in the “upper-tier, elite echelon of political action across the nation.” He said the milestone should make credit unions “proud and confident for their future.” Mica noted that CULAC is among about 4,000 political action campaigns (PACs) nationally, and most of those target a small number of key congressional election races. “But, because of the hard work and generosity of credit unions and the leagues, we have the capability to be involved in nearly all races, and still put to use important, proven tools such as independent expenditures (IE),” Mica said of CULAC’s far-reaching effort. He added that less than one percent of all PACs nationwide that have the ability to support a candidate with an IE. “We are fortunate to be one of them,” Mica said. Federal regulations dictate that IEs must be made independently, with no coordination between the contributor and a candidates' campaign camp. The money is used for such things as independent advertising and mailings in support of a candidate. Mica identified the following key points as among those that led to the success of the last election cycle:
*Fundraising continues to be driven by growth in payroll deduction, a program in place only since 2005. As of Oct. 31, more than 2,800 employees at 113 credit unions, 22 state leagues, and CUNA were contributing to CULAC; *CULAC distributed more than $2.9 million in contributions this cycle to federal candidates and committees, and participated in 8% of the 470 U.S. House and Senate races on the November ballot; *CULAC spent a record $528,000 in IEs in three races, one of which resulted in the defeat of an anti-credit union incumbent by credit union friend and Kansas State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins; *More than 92% of CULAC-supported House and Senate candidates won election in the November elections; *CULAC ranked 14th among all federal PACs in direct candidate contributions, and 6th among trade association PACs. The partisan breakdown (52% to Democrats and 48% to Republicans) was tied with only one other organization as the most bipartisan among the nation’s 20 largest PACs, based on figures provided by the Center for Responsive Politics).
Mica also noted that CULAC has always relied on grassroots, with an average contribution of just about $26.