NABPAC has been an active participant in campaign finance debates since 1977.  Over more than four decades, we have supported efforts to provide for greater transparency and enforcement of a responsible regulatory structure.  We have fought for the continued role of political action committees (PACs) in the campaign finance system, have helped our members interpret and comply with an array of regulations, and have made it clear that no American citizen should be restricted from making voluntary contributions to any political entity.  Unfortunately, NABPAC believes that four decades of “reform,” complex legal decisions and contradictory regulatory rulemakings have created a patchwork funding system that is out-of-sync with the high costs of running for public office.  This situation has accelerated since passage of the landmark Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (“BCRA”) and the emergence of so-called independent expenditure “Super PACs” following the 2010 Citizens United court decision. 

NABPAC's two priority legislative goals will help ensure that congressional campaigns are privately funded and that PACs continue their positive role in helping aggregate voluntary contributions from millions of Americans of every political perspective: 

Increase PAC contributions to candidates for federal office from $5,000 to $10,000 per election, and index new limits for inflation retroactive to 2003.

Contribution limits for PACs of $5,000 per election to a candidate for Congress were established in 1974.  In the ensuing decades, inflation has eroded the value of that contribution by more than 80% to the point that a $5,000 contribution now is worth less than $1,000 in 1974 dollars.  At the same time, populations have grown and costs for everything to advertising to gasoline to bumper stickers have increased along the way.  Thanks to BCRA contribution limit increases for individuals, however, a wealthy couple now may contribute more to a candidate for Congress than can a PAC with thousands of members giving small voluntary contributions.  This inequity embodied in BCRA has created a distortion in the campaign finance system that increasingly empowers wealthy individuals over smaller donors. 

 Reform prior approval laws for trade associations with corporate members.  Trade associations in America with corporate rather than individual members are second-class donors under the congressional campaign finance system.   This law requires prior approval in writing before a voluntary contribution can be solicited from even a single stockholder or executive of a member corporation.  This has served to constrain the rights of trade associations to participate equally in campaign finance and has stifled their effectiveness.  NABPAC recommends repealing this provision entirely or, at a minimum, allowing a corporate member to give prior approval to more than one association per year.