On April 4th, AATC will host its Spring Fling golf tournament presented by Service Response Team (SRT) at the Golf Club at Fossil Creek in Fort Worth. First, a big thanks to the AATC Golf Committee and Margaret Smith with SRT. 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.
This event raises funds for the Association’s political action committee (AATCPAC). Since both AATC owner/management and supplier partners are putting significant monies and time into something called a PAC, I thought it would be helpful to explain what a PAC is, why it exists, and how it operates.
A political action committees (PAC) is group of like-minded individuals formed to raise money and make contributions to political candidates and causes. Basically, it is a way to pool financial resources and increase political donations. It’s the strength in numbers principle.
PACs can be local, state, or federal. AATCPAC is both a local and state PAC—meaning it makes campaign contributions only to city, county and state campaigns and entities. Candidates for mayor, city council, state representative, and justice of the peace are some of the folks to whom AATCPAC contributes.
AATCPAC does not make congressional or presidential contributions. If AATC wants to make a $5,000 contribution to a congressional candidate, we do so using the National Apartment Association PAC. NAAPAC is a federal 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 $240,000 for NAAPAC in the most recent 2-year cycle. Put July 1 and August 16th on your calendar. Supplier registration opens July 1st and this year’s event is August 16th.
AATCPAC provides an opportunity for AATC members to contribute financial support to worthy candidates for public office who have demonstrated a belief in the principles to which the multifamily housing industry is dedicated. AATCPAC funds are also used to support or oppose the passage of measures submitted in public elections, and to support the government relations activities of AATC.
AATCPAC is a separated, segregated entity. AATCPAC’s trustees make all contribution decision. Per the AATCPAC bylaws, AATC’s Executive Officers are the AATC PAC trustees.
AATCPAC supports candidates who are open to the apartment industry’s views on issues critical 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. AATC’s advocacy team members assist with vetting candidates in their city, and make contribution recommendations to the AATC GAC.
The GAC cusses and discusses these recommendations then makes a recommendation to the 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.
Checks are then written from the AATCPAC bank account. Currently, AATCPAC has approximately $52,000 in available funds. Unlike other PACs, AATCPAC’s 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. Many times, these meetings take place at an apartment property.
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, AATCPAC gives the multifamily housing industry political credibility and makes AATC a player in the public arena. For more than two decades, AATCPAC has consistently been one of the five largest PACs in Tarrant County.
A prominent Fort Worth politician once said that he never kept a list of his political enemies, but he did keep a list of his friends. When AATCPAC contributes to a candidate, it gets us on the friends list.
Finally, all AATCPAC contributions and expenditures are a matter of public record. The actions of the AATCPAC are completely transparent. AATCPAC 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 AATCPAC grow and our industry prosper.
In addition to our golf tournament, Top Golf event, and Cowtown Epicurean Dinner, AATC members can make online contributions to the AATC PAC through the AATC website. To make an online contribution go to: http://www.aatcnet.org/political-action-committee.html
Thanks again to those who give to AATCPAC. Together we can make a difference. If you have any questions about AATCPAC or the association’s advocacy programs, contact Perry Pillow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (817) 616-0354.
I’ll see you April 4th at the Golf Club at Fossil Creek.
Rick Tuzinski, Asset Pavement, 2016-2017 AATC Golf Committee Chair. For more information on any of our PAC fundraisers or initiatives, contact Perry Pillow at email@example.com or call him at 817-616-0354.