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Frequently asked questions about NAA PAC.

The National Apartment Association Political Action Committee (NAA PAC) aims to cultivate a politically educated and involved membership.

Part of the education process includes ensuring that members know about NAA PAC, what it is and what it does.

Following are answers to the most frequently asked questions about NAA PAC.

What is a Political Action Committee (PAC)?

A PAC is a separate, segregated fund that enables employees or members of groups--such as corporations and professional organizations--to pool their political contributions and support candidates who will help the organization achieve its legislative objectives.

What is the purpose of NAA PAC?

The purpose of NAA PAC is to provide greater awareness of critical issues affecting the apartment industry; increase member involvement in the association's government relations efforts; increase member interaction with federal lawmakers to establish relationships in support of slate and local legislative and political activity, while increasing NAA's political reputation on Capitol Hill; and to interest members in good government and its relationship to politics, election of candidates and legislative issues.

NAA PAC is not affiliated with any political party.

NAA is organized as a voluntary nonpartisan committee to further the purposes outlined above on federal and state levels.

Why shouldn't I support individual candidates directly and bypass the PAC?

With individual contributions, candidates may not know why you supported them. When a PAC makes a contribution, it sends a strong, collective message that NAA's membership has an interest in the industry. There is strength in numbers.

Are PACs considered special interest groups?

PACs have inspired more than 12 million Americans to become involved in the political process. PACs are often referred to as special interests. This is true: NAA PAC's special interests are set by apartment industry professionals. NAA PAC's mission is reflective of the industry's needs and interests.

Why should I join? Can't the industry promote its own interests?

Our industry is experiencing rapid change. Your participation helps get candidates elected who best support the industry's corporate goals and business strategy. The industry promotes its interests through the governmental and regulatory departments, but due to federal regulations, cannot make political contributions. Combining legislative advocacy at the federal, state and local levels with PAC contributions provides the best positioning for the industry.

How are PAC contributions used by candidates? Why do they need our support?

The cost of running for public office has become increasingly expensive. PAC funds go toward many aspects of campaigning, including developing printed materials, purchasing advertising time and paying the salaries of campaign staff.

Isn't the money just being used to "buy" politicians?

No. PACs are simply groups of likeminded individuals who pool their resources to achieve a common goal. Contributions are allocated by the PAC Board and given to candidates whose records indicate that they balance fairness with issues that coincide with the apartment industry's goals and pro-business agenda.

I thought PACs were going to be eliminated.

No. PACs continue to be supported in the political process because they are a legal, legitimate and open method of campaign finance. Even in the current reform debates, PACs remain relatively unaffected and are being seen as the most viable source of contributions to candidates.

Who is eligible to join the PAC? Who will be solicited?

All NAA members are eligible to join NAA PAC. NAA PAC must make a written request to NAA member companies for permission to solicit them.

Corporate approval is necessary before NAA PAC may solicit a company and its employees for any of its fund-raising events.

The company representative with whom NAA normally conducts its activities may sign the request. A corporation may not approve solicitations by more than one federal PAC in a calendar year.

Corporate approval of trade association PACs in no way limits the corporation's right to solicit contributions for its own PAC. This does not limit your right to contribute to multiple federal PACs or any state or local PACs.

How do I join?

Simply fill out the authorization to solicit and enrollment card found on the NAA PAC Web site, www.naahq.org/PAC, and fax it to NAA's office at 703/518-6191.

How much can I contribute annually to the PAC?

Unlike any other contribution, PACs are tightly regulated, subject to contribution limits and fully disclosed to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Individuals can make personal contributions of up to $5,000 annually.

Corporate contributions to the NAA PAC are strictly prohibited. NAA PAC complies with all regulations set forth by the FEC.

Is my PAC contribution tax deductible?

No. Contributions to this, or any other PAC, are not tax deductible.

What candidates are supported by NAA PAC?

NAA PAC is nonpartisan and supports both Democrats and Republicans. Contributions help support candidates who are sensitive to the issues that affect the apartment industry.

For candidates to receive contributions from NAA PAC, they must demonstrate a commitment to free enterprise, sound judgment on issues of concern to the apartment industry and viability as a candidate. Additionally, contributions are given to candidates who serve on relevant committees in the House or Senate where it is in the best interest of the industry to build relationships.

Who decides where to spend PAC funds?

The NAA Legislative Committee is the candidate screening committee for NAA PAC. The candidate screening committee meets several times annually and reviews political and legislative developments and analyzes specific races for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Early in each campaign cycle the committee assesses political dynamics developing both in the new Congress and in the next elections. Additionally, the committee will discuss regional, state and local goals to determine where PAC contributions best can be used to further affiliates' agendas and facilitate new relationships with federal candidates. Spending priorities are then developed for targeting NAA PAC's dollars most effectively. The committee works on a majority-plus-one approval system for all disbursements. All contribution requests are disseminated by the Director of Political Outreach or Vice President of Government Affairs and can be approved in person, electronically, via fax or phone.

What criteria are used to determine which candidates NAA PAC will support?

Preference is given to representatives and senators who sit on committees having direct oversight on the issues most important to the apartment industry. These include: Senate Appropriations, Banking, Commerce, Energy and Environment committees and House Appropriations, Ways and Means, Energy, Financial Services and Science committees.

NAA PAC will consider additional criteria, such as:

* Meaningful "face-time" events to educate the member of Congress and key staff;

* Election cycle importance;

* Large local presence;

* Whether the candidate holds a leadership or policy-shaping position in his or her party or serves on a committee of strategic importance to NAA and its affiliates;

* The candidate's position and voting record on issues that improve the business climate that affects the growth and prosperity of the apartment industry; and

* State and local affiliate opinions and relationships, including a presence of NAA affiliates, member properties and member headquarters in a candidate's state or district.

Can I recommend a candidate for a contribution?

Yes. As a member of the PAC, your input is valuable. Please make your request through your PAC Ambassador or Region Vice President for proper consideration.

How much money did NAA PAC raise last cycle?

NAA PAC raised $193,453 in 2003 and 2004 to support the November 2004 elections and $163,500 was disbursed to federal campaigns.

What is the campaign goal?

For 2005, NAA and its leadership set a PAC fund-raising goal of $175,000 to help fund candidates supportive of the apartment industry who are seeking election or re-election to federal office.

How does the size of our PAC compare to others in our industry?

In the 2003-2004 election cycle, the real estate industry raised and disbursed more than $17 million to federal candidates seeking office. The above graph compares NAA PAC to other PACs in the industry.

How can I receive a list of candidates to whom the PAC has contributed?

As a member of NAA PAC, you will receive a password to the members-only PAC site. The FEC governs to whom NAA PAC may contribute, so this information is considered public knowledge. NAA PAC strives to keep the rules, procedures and operations of NAA PAC clear and public. Additionally, NAA PAC publishes a newsletter, The Filibuster, for its PAC members. It provides information on who received funds and how much the PAC received. During an election year, The Filibuster also provides information on the supported candidates' election efforts. AS a contributor, you may request a list of contributions at any time from Lisa Reynolds, NAA's Director of Political Outreach.

Who should I contact if I have specific questions?

Please contact Lisa Reynolds, Director of Political Outreach, with any questions or concerns.

Lisa Reynolds, NAA Director of Political Outreach, can be reached at lisa@naahq.org or 703/518-6141 Ext. 123.
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Title Annotation:NAA PAC
Author:Reynolds, Lisa
Publication:Units
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Words:1475
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