Pillow Talk: Money Matters

by Perry Pillow, AATC's Director of Government Affairs

Speaking at a recent Fort Worth gathering, Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp remarked that most political speeches are “longhorn” speeches: two points with a lot of bull in between. Many of you probably feel that same way when it comes to the three Political Action Committee (PAC) events hosted by AATC. Our Spring golf tournament, Monster Mash, and Epicurean Dinner with and a lot of bull in between. Perhaps it would be helpful to clarify how the PAC works.

AATC PAC is a separate, legal entity with its own set of bylaws and governance structure. AATC PAC provides an opportunity for individuals interested in the multifamily housing industry to contribute financial support to candidates for public office who have demonstrated a belief in the principles to which the industry is dedicated. AATC PAC also provides money to support or oppose the passage of measures submitted in public elections. Also, AATC PAC funds are available to support the government relations activities of AATC.

AATC PAC is a state and local PAC, meaning it can only make contributions to state (governor, state senator, state representative, etc.) and local (mayor, city council, Justice of the Peace, etc.) government candidates. AATC uses the NAA PAC to fund congressional races. The Business Exchange raises money for the NAA PAC.

AATC PAC can only accept money from individuals; no corporate funds. This rule is the reason that the AATC golf tournament, Monster Mash, and Epicurean Dinner require personal contributions. There is no limit on the amount an individual may donate to the AATC PAC, and there is no limit on the amount AATC PAC may contribute to a candidate or cause. State law requires the AATC PAC treasurer to submit periodic reports to the Texas Ethics Commission on the PAC’s activities (contributions received and expenditures made). These reports are open to the public.

You can contribute online to the AATC PAC at https://www.aatcnet.org/aatc-pac.html. Any donation, large or small, is much appreciated. Giving to the AATC PAC is a way for our members to have an impact on the government rules and regulations that impact your business.

AATC PAC contribution decisions are made by the PAC Board of Trustees. The AATC executive officers are the PAC trustees, and the AATC Treasurer is the AATC PAC chair. The Association’s Executive Director is the AATC PAC treasurer – the person legally responsible for the actions of the PAC.

Per the AATC PAC bylaws, if time allows, the trustees make contribution decisions based on the recommendations of the AATC Government Affairs Committee. All AATC PAC contributions will be made without regard to any political party affiliation.

For more than two decades, AATC PAC has been one of the largest sources of campaign funds for Tarrant County candidates. During a typical 2-year campaign cycle, AATC PAC contributes more than $70,000 to city council, mayor, county, state representative, and state senate candidates. In addition, AATC PAC contributes more than $64,000 every other year to the Texas Apartment Association Political Action Committee (TAA PAC).

Over time, the average AATC PAC city council campaign contribution has reached $2,500, and the average mayoral candidate contribution now exceeds $5,000. For the typical state representative and state senate contests, AATC PAC will leverage TAA PAC contributions and, in some cases, match or go beyond TAA PAC.

Unlike other professional associations that rely on their state or national organizations for funding, the AATC PAC is a separate entity. AATC’s PAC trustees also approve any request for AATC fair share funds from the National Apartment Association Political Action Committee (NAA PAC).

PAC check delivery meetings are a key component of the Association’s advocacy program. These meetings are an opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with elected officials. PAC contributions do not buy votes—they facilitate access to decision-makers.

If you have any questions about AATC PAC, please email Perry Pillow at ppillow@aatcnet.org or call (817) 616-0354.

POWELL, KLICK, & WILLIAMS SPEAK AT TAA – State Senator Beverly Powell (D – SD10) spoke to the TAA Board of Directors during TAA’s fall board meeting last month at Live by Loews in Arlington. Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams spoke to the TAA Legislative Committee, and AATC member State Representative Stephanie Klick (R – HD91) was the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by the TAA Executive Committee.

Fort Worth Short-Term Rentals – Like other DFW cities, the Fort Worth city council is exploring zoning, registration, and taxing options to address short-term rentals. Currently, short-term rentals (less than 30 days) are allowed in commercial and mixed-use zoning districts, like downtown and near downtown areas, but are not permitted in residential zoning districts, including multifamily zoning districts. AATC members whose properties are in areas that allow short term rental should have their Certificates of Occupancy include the transient occupancy in addition to the multifamily residential occupancy. One option being currently considered by the council is to allow property owners in all residential zoning districts to apply for a Conditional Use Permit for short-term rentals. The council is expected to act in the Spring of 2020.

MID CITIES MUNICIPAL SUMMIT 2019 – If you own or operate rental property in Hurst, Euless, Bedford or Grapevine, put Thursday, November 14th, on your calendar and plan on attending the 3rd annual Mid Cities Municipal Summit from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Six Stones (209 N Industrial Blvd #241, Bedford, TX 76021). This year’s summit will feature a series of panel discussions that impact all attendees (crime prevention, US Census, HEB ISD, Justice of the Peace, etc.). Per usual, we will have break-out sessions for attendees to meet with code, police, fire, etc. representatives from their city. To register for this event go to https://apartmenttarranttxassoc.wliinc38.com/events/Mid-Cities-Municipal-Summit-2019-1015/details

Perry Pillow is AATC’s Director of Government Affairs. For more information, contact Perry at ppillow@aatcnet.org or call 817-616-0354.