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WASHINGTON-Following a recent Federal Election Commission rulemaking, credit unions will soon be able to funnel money directly from members’ accounts, with their permission of course, directly to the trade association political action committees. The FEC rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register shortly with a 30-day effective date. CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose explained, “Credit unions will be able to utilize payroll deductions for collecting funds for CULAC so we’re very excited about that possibility,” Gose said. He pointed out that credit unions have the America’s Community Bankers to thank for the change, because it was at their request that prompted the rulemaking. “CULAC right now is doing quite well,” Gose explained. “We’re running above our goal (last year’s fundraising) by about 10-12%, which is right on target to where we wanted to be.” The new FEC ruling will “open up new avenues” for greater access to people and make it easier for them to give. “We all know convenience works best,” he said. So far this year, CULAC is running about fifth or sixth in overall PAC contributions to federal candidates, according to Gose, with nearly $1 million in contributions already, FEC reports show. Solely among trade associations, CULAC is around fourth, he said. These numbers can be misleading though, Gose cautioned, because some groups give early in an election cycle, while others wait until later. Last year CULAC ended up around 11th in contributions and, at this point, it looks like the PAC will move up a couple notches, he said. In June, top CULAC recipients included Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) ($10,000), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) ($9,000), and Bob Ney (R-Ohio) ($9,000). While the credit union industry is shrinking in terms of the number of institutions, the number of credit union members continues to swell at about 86 million right now. “There are more credit union members now than there were five years ago.” Gose pointed out. “As that increases, so do our possibilities.” CUNA and NAFCU will be taking advantage of the updated rule. “It has the potential to bring more money in,” NAFCU Director of Political Affairs Murray Chanow stated. “It’s always been a challenge to get people to become more politically active,” he added. NAFCU already has a similar plan in place with its `Make Change for a Dollar’ program, where credit unions can collect the funds then donate it to NAFCU/PAC, but this way the credit union members’ funds will flow directly into the PAC. Chanow said NAFCU has not pitched direct withdrawals to its membership yet, but it will. The important thing with any program like this is you have to get the CEO to “buy in,” he explained. If they do not, it will not go very far at the credit unions, but that is why you have “to have a lot of different programs.” Chanow recalled back to H.R. 1151 when it was often stated that if each credit union member contributed just $1, credit unions would be “the strongest political force” in the United States. Annual Conference is always a big money maker for NAFCU/PAC and this year was no exception. The PAC beat last year’s record for fundraising at Annual conference by $3,000, coming in at $43,000 raised between a golf tournament, PAC Pals’ sales, a silent auction, and the Rat PAC event. NAFCU also unveiled its new NAFCU/PAC Challenge at Annual Conference. The group is starting two separate honor rolls for individuals and credit unions. To make the list, individuals must make at least $250 in donations in a calendar year and credit unions must have $50 donated each from the CEO, chair, and two other people employed by or volunteering at the credit union. Awards will be given to the individual and credit union that fulfill the challenge and give the most. Prior to the funds brought in at Annual Conference, around 26 people had given more than $250, according to Chanow, and seven or eight credit unions had met the challenge. CULAC rolled out its new `Matching Gifts’ campaign last year. When a credit union member made a contribution to CULAC, an equal amount of funds was paid by the credit union to a designated charity. This program was in response to a separate FEC ruling last year. Gose said credit unions are just beginning to get on board and he did not know the number of credit unions participating or the amount of money that has come in through the program. [email protected]

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