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WASHINGTON-The Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) of CUNA achieved its goal to `do better’ than the previous election cycle so far, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission. CULAC raised $1,767,860.82 in 2005, exceeding its previous non-election year fund-raising record of $1,670,259.27 collected in 2003. The political action committee also contributed more to federal candidates in 2005 ($1,727,155.15) than it did in 2003 ($1,309,310.76). “We’re all very pleased with the way 2005 turned out,” CUNA Political Director Trey Hawkins stated. In fact, during 2005, CULAC almost reached the contribution levels coming in and going out of the PAC in 2004-a presidential election year, fund-raisers pointed out. In 2004, CULAC received $1.8 million in contributions and doled out nearly $2 million. Presidential election years generally grease the wheels and get contributions flowing more freely. CUNA made a couple of updates to make it easier for interested parties to contribute money late last year, including automatic payroll deductions. “We’re starting to really get it rolling now,” Hawkins explained. “Interest is definitely picking up.” A number of leagues and credit unions are setting up the accounting processes for the payroll deduction program, he said. CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose added, “We hope that will be a significant amount of our new dollars coming in.” As far as the online credit card acceptance, he said, “That’s just a quick and easy way,” which is what people want. Also, he said, CUNA will be emphasizing the matching gifts campaign, where credit unions can match contributions to CULAC with donations to charities selected by the contributor, at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference at the end of the month. CUNA is ranked fourth among all trade association PACs by www.opensecrets.org, operated by the Center for Responsive Politics; the American Bankers Association ranked sixth. Political Money Line (at www.tray.com) ranked CULAC #27 of all PACs by disbursements. CULAC contributed $9,000 to Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.); $5,000 to Michael Capuano (D-Mass.); and $5,000 to Peter Welch, the Democratic president of Vermont’s senate, for Congressman Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) seat, who is taking a go at retiring Senator Jim Jeffords’ (I-Vt.) seat. Contributions of $4,000 went to Ron Lewis (R-Ky.), Todd Akin (R-Mo.), and Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.). -

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