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Making a Difference With PIAPAC

To all PIA members: I am thrilled to be the newest addition to your national staff. As I step into the role, I would...
April 24, 2006

Kristi DeilyKristi Deily
Manager, Political Affairs
PIA National

To all PIA members: I am thrilled to be the newest addition to your national staff.  As I step into the role, I would like to take the opportunity to review with you what PIAPAC is, criteria used in determining PIAPAC support of candidates, and ways in which you can put your voice behind PIA and PIAPAC on Capitol Hill.  PIAPAC Chairman Bob Gyle of Connecticut has identified the theme for the 2006 PIAPAC year: "Making a Difference."  Together, we can.

What Is PIAPAC?

PIAPAC is the Professional Insurance Agents' Political Action Committee.  The PAC contributes to the campaigns of candidates to federal office who share our pro-insurance, pro-business perspective and who support our issues.  PIAPAC is funded by the contributions of individual PIA members such as yourself and 100% of your hard dollar contributions go directly to the election campaigns of our legislative friends.  "Hard dollars" simply means contributions from individuals.  Corporate contributions are considered "soft dollars" and, by federal election law, may not be used to fund campaigns.  These soft dollar, or corporate, contributions, however, may be used for administrative purposes for the PAC such as printing expenses and promotional items.  Both hard and soft dollar contributions are valuable to our success in putting our friends in Congress.  In the 2004 election, 96% of PIAPAC supported candidates were elected or re-elected to Congress.

PIAPAC Candidate Criteria

Each week, we receive scores of requests by candidates and campaign committees for contributions.  PIAPAC only considers the requests associated with a fundraising event, as we never send a PIAPAC check in the mail without having face time with the candidate.  This way, we are able to ensure that the PIA name and message are known.

Our support for the candidate is determined by the following criteria:

1. Committee assignment
Most of our important issues are deliberated in the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.  Therefore, most of our campaign contributions are targeted to our friends in these committees.

2. Competitiveness of race

3. Overall level of support for PIA issues outside of committee assignment

The requests for contributions that meet these criteria are then forwarded to the chairman and vice chairmen of the PIAPAC committee, who make the final determination.

PIAPAC also works in coordination with our state affiliates.  PIA national respects the input of our affiliates in the above process.  We occasionally receive requests from affiliates for contributions to candidates and, when opportunities arise, we request for them to attend events locally.  Additionally, input from PIA affiliates is a key factor in deciding candidate support for open seat races.

What You Can Do to Make a Difference

  • First and foremost, contribute to PIAPAC!  A letter was recently sent to all PIA members from Chairman Gyle.  Please keep your eye out for the letter and return the contribution form as soon as possible in the envelope provided.  All contribution levels are only suggested amounts so give what you can.  Every dollar is important.
  • Attend the PIA Federal Legislative Summit.  It is at this event each year that agents from across the country come to Washington and meet with their federal legislators to discuss issues of importance to professional, independent agents.
  • Finally, VOTE.  Elections are just around the corner.

Kristi Deily kristide@pianet.org is Manager of Political Affairs for PIA National.

PIA Connection

This article originally appeared in the April 2006 PIA Connection.