Q: What is a PAC?
A: A Political Action Committee is a committee chartered to raise, administer, disburse, and disclose funds that individuals voluntarily contribute for political purposes. There are nearly 4,000 professional, corporate, union, and other PACs in the U.S. today.
Q: What is the purpose of AFSA-PAC?
A: AFSA-PAC works to make the U.S. Foreign Service a more effective agent of United States international leadership by helping to elect Senators and Representatives who support a strong, effective Foreign Service.
Q: How does AFSA-PAC increase AFSA's effectiveness on Capitol Hill?
A: AFSA has traditionally enjoyed good access to congressional staffers who appreciate hearing our views as the "Voice of the Foreign Service." However, we have found it difficult to get the opportunity to make our case directly to the busy Senators and Representatives who ultimately decide legislation. Because one of the things that Senators and Representatives are busy with is raising the resources they need to communicate with their constituents, AFSA-PAC is able to host and participate in events attended by lawmakers at which we can make our case on key professional and "bread and butter" issues.
Q: How do AFSA-PAC's activities relate to AFSA's ongoing lobbying efforts?
A: AFSA's traditional lobbying efforts will continue in full force -- supported by AFSA member dues and individual contributions to AFSA's Legislative Action Fund. AFSA's Director of Legislative Affairs and AFSA Governing Board officers will continue to make frequent trips to Capitol Hill to brief the influential congressional staffers who typically decide 90 percent of the text of any given piece of legislation. AFSA-PAC supplements these efforts by helping to get Foreign Service issues on the radar screens of the key lawmakers who ultimately decide legislation.
Q: Where does AFSA-PAC get its funds?
A: Voluntary donations by individuals are the source of 100 percent of AFSA-PAC's resources. In accordance with federal law, no AFSA member dues may be transferred to AFSA-PAC and donations to AFSA-PAC may not be commingled with other AFSA funds.
Q: To whom does AFSA-PAC contribute?
AFSA-PAC focuses exclusively on key lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. AFSA-PAC contributes directly to those lawmakers' campaign committees, not to national or local party committees. AFSA-PAC does not participate in other elections (e.g., presidential, state, county, local) or referenda on issues.
AFSA-PAC contributes to candidates who either a) have key roles on congressional committees responsible for funding or oversight of the foreign affairs agencies or b) have elsewhere demonstrated concern for the Foreign Service.
To maintain a strictly bi-partisan stance, contributions by AFSA-PAC are divided evenly between the two major political parties (i.e., half of the dollars go to candidates of one party; half to candidates of the other party). This balance is confirmed semiannually, with additional contributions made if needed to maintain balance.
Q: Does AFSA-PAC affect AFSA's non-partisan nature?
A: Neither AFSA nor AFSA-PAC ever support or oppose domestic or foreign policy issues -- only "bread and butter" and funding issues impacting on the career Foreign Service. The strictly bi-partisan split in contributions by AFSA-PAC (confirmable in filings posted on the Federal Election Commission's website) guarantee against any perception of a partisan tilt.
Q: Who decides which candidates receive AFSA-PAC contributions?
A: A committee appointed by the AFSA Governing Board administers AFSA-PAC. Committee members will identify the Senators and Representatives who are most important to achieving the legislative objectives established by the AFSA Governing Board.
Q: Are the operations of AFSA-PAC open to public scrutiny?
A: Yes. As a PAC registered with the Federal Election Commission, all of AFSA-PAC's filings are posted on the Internet at www.fec.gov. Those filings include reports detailing a) the name of each individual who donates more that $200 and b) each and every contribution to a candidate. In election years, AFSA-PAC files such reports monthly. Under federal law, the AFSA-PAC treasurer is responsible compliance with all reporting and other requirements.
Q: Are there any restrictions on donations AFSA-PAC?
A: Yes. Foreign nationals may not donate. Americans may donate no more than $5,000 per year. The donor's name and address must accompany donations exceeding $50. Individuals donating more than $200 in one year must also specify their occupation and name of employer (if employed). Donations to AFSA-PAC are not tax-deductible.
Q: How can I get more information about AFSA PAC?
A: If you would like more information or if you have any questions about AFSA-PAC, please contact Patrick Bradley at 202-944-5506 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org