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WASHINGTON — The $75,000 Credit Union Legislative Action Council of CUNA spent on direct mailings in support of Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Vt.) late in the game paid off in victory last week. In all, CULAC contributed over $225,000 in independent expenditures to the Lieberman campaign. Lieberman lost his bid for re-election under the Democratic banner in the primaries over his pro-war stance, but earned a sweet victory over Democratic candidate Ned Lamont as an Independent last week. “You’re dealing in a state with a history where folks lose the primary and then go on to run as an independent and win,” CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose explained. Because there are so many registered independents in Vermont, CUNA expected him to do well, he said. A CUNA spokesperson has said that Lieberman has been good to credit unions by voting for H.R. 1151 and supporting cloture on the bankruptcy reform bill even though he did not vote in favor of the bill itself. Gose pointed out that it is harder to gauge a senator’s support for credit unions than in the House because there are fewer votes taken. You are dealing with a “different body and a different attitude.” Political action committees can contribute beyond the $10,000 limit for primary and general elections combined by making media buys that are not coordinated with the campaign called “independent expenditures.”

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