Former lobbyist Marvin Umholtz said credit unions shouldn’t fear the new Friends of Traditional Banking PAC, saying it has been mislabeled as a Super PAC, and will function “more like a scalpel than a battle axe.”
The new PAC will select one or two campaigns per election cycle in which it can influence the outcome, said Umholtz, president/CEO of Umholtz Strategic Planning & Consulting Services in Olympia, Wash.
It will either support or oppose a candidate, and rather than collect money, it will direct individuals to have made pledges to the PAC to write checks directly to the candidate’s campaign.
“One or two races an election cycle can send a strong message, but it cannot make a wholesale change to the House or Senate,” Umholtz said. “Also, if the credit union lobbyists were more candid about it, they would likely agree 99.9% of the time with Friends as to whom the financial industry enemies are in Congress. They are just as likely to be enemies of credit unions, too.”
Umholtz added that he doesn’t think any bank or credit PACs should be funding any campaigns of those who voted in favor of the Dodd-Frank Act.
“In my book, the Dodd-Frank supporters were all enemies of banks and credit unions,” he said.
John McKechnie, former NCUA and CUNA lobbyist who now works for the Washington consulting firm Total Spectrum, said he’s “concerned” about the Friends group, but said he’s “confident that credit unions can cover all the bases politically, both with money and grass roots support.”