PAC Check

by Michael Payne, Allmark, AATC's Government Affairs Chair

On April 5, AATC will host the Spring Fling golf tournament presented by Element Enterprises at Mansfield National Golf Club. First, a big thanks to the AATC Golf Committee and Element Enterprises. Next, thanks to everyone who is sponsoring, playing, or otherwise participating in this event. Finally, a special thanks to our owner/management members who participate in our golf tournaments and our vendor partners who generously support these events.

AATC’s Spring golf tournament, Monster Mash Top Golf event, and our Epicurean Dinner raise funds for the Association’s political action committee (AATC PAC). Since both AATC owner/management and vendor members are putting significant monies and time into something called a PAC, I thought it would be helpful to understand what a PAC is, why it exist, and how it operates.

A political action committees (PAC) is group of like-minded individual formed to raise money and make contributions to political candidates and causes. Basically, it is a way to pool financial resources and increase donations. It’s the strength in numbers principle.
PACs can be local, state, or federal. AATC’s PAC is both a local and state PAC—meaning it makes campaign contributions only to city, county and state campaigns and entities. AATCPAC does not make congressional or presidential contributions.

If AATC wants to make a $5,000 contribution to a congressional candidate, we use the National Apartment Association PAC. We can make this federal contribution because of the overwhelming success of the Business Exchange. The Business Exchange is the largest single fund raiser for NAAPAC. AATC and AAGD have raised more than $300,000 for NAAPAC in the most recent 2-year cycle. Put Juy1(supplier registration opens) and August 21 (event date) on your calendar.

AATC PAC provides an opportunity for AATC members to contribute support to worthy candidates for public office who have demonstrated a belief in the principles to which the multifamily housing industry is dedicated; to support or oppose the passage of measures submitted in public elections; and to support the government relations activities of AATC.

AATC PAC supports candidates who are open to the apartment industry’s views on issues crucial to your business. Time allowing, the process of vetting candidates and discussing contribution levels takes place in the AATC Government Affairs Committee (GAC). Using our national award-winning PAC Matrix and other political data, AATC staff provides the GAC with their campaign contribution recommendations. The GAC cusses and discusses these recommendations then makes a recommendation to the AATC PAC trustees. The trustees have the final say on who gets a contribution and how much. Almost always, the trustees follow the GAC’s recommendations.

AATC PAC is a separated, segregated entity. Per the AATC PAC bylaws, AATC’s Executive Officers are the AATC PAC trustees.

Checks are then written from the AATC PAC bank account. Unlike some PACs, AATC PAC trustees try to spend the monies donated in a timely manner. PAC funds do no good sitting in the bank. Next, AATC staff arranges meetings with candidates to give them the checks. When possible, AATC members attend these PAC check presentations.

There is a myth that PACs buy votes; they don’t. They buy access. When a contribution is delivered, it gives multifamily professionals one-on-one face-time with policy makers. These meetings are an excellent opportunity to make our case to an elected official on issues that impact the industry.

An essential component of AATC’s advocacy program, AATC PAC gives the multifamily housing industry political credibility and makes AATC a player in the public arena. For more than twenty-five years, AATC PAC has consistently been one of the five largest PACs in Tarrant County.

A prominent Fort Worth politician once said that he doesn’t keep a list of his political enemies, but he does keep a list of his friends. When AATC PAC contributes to a candidate, it gets us on the friends list.

Finally, all AATC PAC contributions and expenditures are a matter of public record. The actions of the AATC PAC are completely transparent. AATC PAC is required by state law to file periodic reports (tied to the election schedule) with the Texas Ethics Commission detailing monies raised and contributions made. In fact, federal and state PAC contributions and expenditures are public information. For instance, if you want to know how much money the Greater Benbrook Bird Watcher PAC gave to Governor Abbott, you can go the Texas Ethics Commission website (www.ethics.state.tx.us) and see.

Growing AATC’s and our industry’s influence throughout Tarrant County is an ongoing process. We succeed when you participate. Your involvement makes AATC PAC grow and our industry prosper.

Thanks again to those who give to AATC PAC. Together we can make a difference. If you have any questions about AATC PAC or the association’s advocacy program contact Perry Pillow at ppillow@aatcnet.org or (817) 616-0354.

I’ll see you April 5th at Mansfield National.

Michael Payne, Allmark Properties, 2018-2019 AATC Government Affairs Committee Chair