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WASHINGTON — The recent election was the most expensive in history, and the political action committees of both CUNA and NAFCU set new records as well.CUNA’s PAC-Credit Union Legislative Action Council-raised $4 million during the 2007-2008 election cycle, the group reported last week.NAFCU-PAC raised $372,534, beating its own record.CULAC, which contributed more than $2.9 million to federal candidates and committees, was the 14th biggest donor to candidates among the approximately 4,300 federal political action committees.The most generous PAC in the financial services was the American Bankers Association’s PAC, the fourth largest contributor overall. It gave $3.5 million to federal candidates and committees.CULAC’s fundraising and contributions enabled it to participate in 390 (83%) of the 470 U.S. House and Senate races this year. It backed the winner in 92% of the races in which it supported a candidate. It gave 52% of its contributions to Democrats and 48% to Republicans.NAFCU’s PAC gave $410,363 to candidates and committees. It participated in 285 races (60% of the total) and backed the winner 94% of the time. It gave 60% of its money to Democrats and 40% to Republicans.CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica said the $4 million is a “significant milestone that places credit unions in the upper-tier, elite echelon of political action across the nation-an achievement I believe should make credit unions proud and confident for their future.”NAFCU Director of Political Affairs Dillon Shea said he was pleased that their PAC is “growing at a decent clip.” He noted that as recently as 2000, its PAC contributed less than $100,000 to candidates and committees.He expressed concern, however, that fundraising could be harder next year because of the effect of the economic downturn.Both PACs were extremely active in the successful fight to save the seat of embattled Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), a strong credit union backer.In addition to giving the maximum contribution of $10,000, both also worked with credit unions in the congressional districts to coordinate volunteer efforts. CULAC also did a coordinated expenditure with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association to fund a mail campaign on behalf of Kanjorski.CULAC spent $530,419.77 on three independent expenditure efforts.During the primary, it spent $135,665.58 for mailings on behalf of Adam Cote, an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for Congress in Maine’s 2nd District.During the general election, in Kansas’ 2nd District, CULAC spent $193,603 to produce and air advertisements on behalf of Treasurer Leslie Jenkins, a longtime credit union supporter, who defeated freshman U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) 50.8% to 46%.In Missouri’s 9th District, the PAC spent $201,150.89 on advertisements and brochures on behalf of state Rep. Judith W. Baker, a Democrat who has been supportive of credit unions during her tenure as a state legislator. She lost 50% to 47.5% to former state House Financial Services Committee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer.CUNA said the average contribution to its PAC was $26, much of it raised through a payroll deduction program, in which more than 2,800 people participated.Shea said NAFCU did not calculate the size of its average contributions but did note that it raised $250,000 in $5.00 increments through the sale of stuffed bears as a fundraising tool.As the PACs begin to gear up for the 2010 elections, CULAC has $138,000 in its coffers and NAFCU’s PAC has $80,000.–[email protected]

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