U.S. coating makers are sharpening their spending and strategizing to elect political candidates this year who have the coating industry’s best interests in mind.
As midterm elections approach, the American Coatings Association’s political action committee, PaintPAC, says it is focusing on increasing contributions to industry-friendly candidates and parties.
Midterm elections will take place Nov. 4 for 36 U.S. Senators, all 435 U.S. Representatives, and 36 state governors.
PaintPAC, established in 2002, enables ACA member representatives and staff to contribute to federal, state and local candidates and parties who "share our concerns and are 'pro-business,'" the association says.
ACA says PaintPAC allows the coatings industry to have a broad impact on elections at the federal, state and local levels.
Through PaintPAC, the American Coatings Association has made contributions to candidates and parties who "share our concerns and are 'pro-business.'" Midterm elections take place Nov. 4.
In the last year, PaintPAC has increased its contributions across the country, making 30 contributions to candidates or Leadership PACs from both parties, and has expanded relationships with candidates whom the industry seeks a partnership.
Connecting with Candidates
Because ACA is a non-profit organization, campaign finance laws prohibit it from directly contributing to political candidates and parties. However, contributions from non-profits can be made through the establishment of a political action committee.
PaintPAC offers ACA an additional forum to advise candidates for national and state office, members of Congress, state legislators, and elected state agency officials about ACA's position on various issues.
PaintPAC's philosophy is to "make a connection with a decision maker and to nurture that relationship so that we can count on an opportunity to provide some advice and education on those issues that impact our industry."
ACA says that such relationships are critical to its advocacy efforts and that PaintPAC is "well-equipped to expand these relationships in quantity and quality."
As an industry advocate, ACA says its role is to educate decision makers on important industry issues such as air and water quality, product liability, product stewardship, waste management, labor and safety in the workplace, facility security, corporate tax and international trade.
"All of these issues have political components and are directly affected by elected officials," according to ACA.
PaintCare a 'Win-Win'
According to ACA, its post-consumer paint stewardship program PaintCare "uniquely" shapes new relationships with candidates. PaintCare is a 501(3)(c) organization with the sole purpose of ensuring effective operation and efficient administration of paint stewardship programs on behalf of all architectural paint manufacturers in the U.S.
ACA says that PaintCare is a "win-win" across the political spectrum as the program promotes recycling and shifts the cost and burden of post-consumer collection from government to industry.
"Consequently, legislators and interest groups that have historically opposed the coatings industry on certain environmental issues find themselves in agreement and in support of PaintCare," ACA stated.
"PaintPAC has sought to support these legislators in the hopes of establishing a working relationship that will benefit the industry in all issue areas."
ACA says its PaintCare program is a "win-win" across the political spectrum, and legislators who have opposed the coatings industry in the past find themselves in support of the program.
ACA recently testified on behalf of state legislation that would extend the PaintCare program to New Hampshire and Washington State. Oregon, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Minnesota, and Maine have all approved PaintCare programs since 2008.
PaintPAC has contributed to legislators in jurisdictions where PaintCare was being considered or eyed.
Contributing More Per Election
In 2005, PaintPAC secured "multi-candidate" status with the Federal Election Commission. A "multi-candidate" committee is a political action committee that has been registered for at least six months, has received contributions from more than 50 different contributors, and has made contributions to at least five federal candidates.
The "multi-candidate" qualification enables PaintPAC to contribute to more candidates per election.
In the decade since it was established, PaintPAC has sought out candidates who fit a "pro-business profile" and would advance a "pro-business agenda." This has been accomplished by identifying candidates early in their careers and "nurturing that relationship as they grow in seniority," ACA says.
A Paint Council lobbyist identifies candidates in bellweather states, and the PaintPac supports candidates who are "friends of the industry" and are party and committee leaders.
PaintPAC's website is undergoing renovation, but a complete list of candidates and other PaintPAC news will be posted soon.
A list of candidates who received contributions from PaintPAC in 2013 may be found here.
For more information, contact PaintPAC director Heidi McAuliffe.