WASHINGTON (8/20/08)—“Lobbyists rethink convention strategy,"
Politico highlights the efforts of CUNA and the leagues to build relationships through benevolent works. (CUNA Photo)
proclaimed an Aug. 19 headline in Politico
, indicating the days of using big-dollar donations to national party conventions to gain notice are over. But there are ways to grab the attention of both the Democratic and Republican parties during their convention weeks, the article said, and the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA’s) Homes for Our Troops is highlighted as a successful effort to stand out in the crowd. CUNA is noted as a group trying a successful new approach to “capturing the notice of a few wavering lawmakers or impressionable senior aides as they race from banquet spread to open bar during the Democratic convention next week in Denver and the Republican gathering in St. Paul, Minn., the following week.” As 173 organizations have spent $1.5 billion on federal political contributions and lobbying expenditures since the 2004 presidential election, CUNA has broken through the morass with an approach Politico
labeled “Hit Them in the Heart.” Politico
, a Washington-based daily political journal, culled the spending figures from a new Campaign Finance Institute and Center for Responsive Politics report expected to be released today. “The quickest way to capture the attention of people accustomed to a life of free food, easy booze and fawning admirers is to shove some compassion for others in their face,” the article said. It then described CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica’s decision to link credit unions with Homes for Our Troops, an organization that helps veterans, and set out to build a new home for the family of a disabled veteran in each city hosting a convention. "Throughout the process, Mica and his team enjoyed other dividends when they had multiple conversations with party officials, local leaders and the offices of House or Senate members who would be invited to the key-passing event,” reporter Jeannne Cummings noted. Quoted in the article, Mica explained the motivation of the credit union effort: “One of our credos is ‘people helping people. I think we were able to blend our motto and credo with the work we need to do to build relationships and inform legislators.” The beneficiaries of the effort are, in Denver, Army Staff Sgt. Travis Strong, who lost his legs when a roadside bomb hit his patrol vehicle in Iraq and, in the St. Paul area, Army Sgt. Marcus Kuboy, whose legs were severely injured when his Humvee exploded in Iraq. Use the resource link below to read the full story.