WASHINGTON (1/3/13)--The Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) had a banner year in 2012, raising more than $2 million to support credit union-friendly candidates, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose reported Wednesday. CULAC is CUNA's political action committee (PAC).
The $2 million funding total is the largest single-year total recorded by CULAC, and it shows that credit union supporters nationwide are "fired up and ready to support credit union candidates," Gose said. CULAC raised a total of $3.93 million in 2011 and 2012, combined, for the two-year election cycle.
Gose said CULAC aims to maintain its growth momentum going into the next electoral cycle. CULAC's goal is to have more resources for its independent expenditures and partisan communications going forward, he added.
Altogether, CUNA, CULAC and state credit union leagues spent $4.15 million to support pro-credit union candidates in the 2012 federal elections. Nearly $1 million of those funds went to independent expenditures leading up to the November elections, and CULAC spent $3 million on candidate contributions. CUNA and leagues also spent more than $300,000 in additional funds to support partisan communications.
CUNA and CULAC supported candidates in 361 U.S. House races and 33 U.S. Senate races, and in 96% of those races the credit union-friendly candidates won.
CULAC was the most bipartisan PAC in opensecrets.org's list of the top 20 PAC contributors for the 2012 elections, with funding nearly evenly divided between the two major parties.
Advocacy efforts made in 2012 took on several forms, including radio advertising, direct mail, and CUNA's first forays into new media political advocacy. These new media efforts included demographically targeted online advertising on web-based media platforms such as social media site Facebook, online radio site Pandora, and banner or sidebar ads on various websites. Candidates also received search-based advertisement placement through Google's AdWords product.
Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.), Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Iowa candidate Kristie Vilsack (D) received the new media support, and while these online projects represented a small portion CUNA's overall independent expenditure budget, "they were another worthy avenue to educate voters and mobilize and activate supporters for our candidates," CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins said.