NAPUS PAC for Postmasters
NAPUS PAC for Postmasters, a multi-candidate political action committee (PAC) fund, was established in 1978. The fund is made up of voluntary contributions solicited from the members and their families of the National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS). The sole purpose of NAPUS PAC is to provide bipartisan political financial support to members of Congress and congressional candidates who are supportive of the NAPUS legislative agenda. Contributions made to NAPUS PAC are legally separate from the NAPUS operating budget and are strictly regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
NAPUS PAC is usually a congressional candidate’s first exposure to NAPUS. A strong PAC enables NAPUS to let legislators know that Postmasters appreciate the opportunity to be heard on issues of concern. It also allows Postmasters to financially support those legislators who have been responsive to the needs of NAPUS members.
It is for these reasons that chapter PAC chairs must promote NAPUS PAC for Postmasters at every opportunity. It is imperative that chapter officers and all NAPUS members boost participation in our PAC. This includes both active and retired Postmasters. NAPUS PAC contributions should be encouraged in all chapter publications, as well as at all chapter and district meetings and in one-to-one communications among Postmasters. The National PAC co-chairs and the NAPUS National Office will do their part by highlighting NAPUS PAC in the Postmasters Gazette magazine and the NAPUS Update and NAPUS Activist newsletters.
Why a NAPUS PAC?
NAPUS PAC for Postmasters helps elect members of Congress who will support legislation that will benefit active and retired Postmasters. NAPUS is legally permitted to communicate with members of Congress and employees of the Executive Branch and to provide political education to NAPUS members.
However, federal law prohibits NAPUS from making campaign contributions to candidates for federal offices. Membership dues are not permitted for such use. Consequently, NAPUS offers its members and employees a means by which they may provide financial support to candidates for federal office. This is achieved through a “separate, segregated fund” known as a political action committee (PAC). A solicitation from PAC discloses to its contributors a clear explanation that the funds will be used for political campaign contributions.
NAPUS PAC is recognized within the political community as a stable performer with an outstanding success record. Our PAC is far more effective than Postmasters making individual contributions to particular candidates. Postmasters, retirees and their families are encouraged to participate in the political process through the strength of their pooled contributions. The results have a greater impact than small, scattered efforts.
NAPUS PAC allows Postmasters to make one, coordinated effort to support their allies in Congress and to candidates we believe will be agreeable to legislative issues. The fact that the contributions are made to candidates in the name of NAPUS PAC nurtures positive identification between the candidates and NAPUS.
Also, NAPUS PAC complements our lobbying efforts, providing an additional avenue of access to members of Congress. NAPUS officers, NAPUS members or staff may attend fund-raising events where our PAC has made contributions on behalf of the incumbent or candidate.
NAPUS PAC and Political Campaigns
The outcome of political elections can boost or block our legislative agenda. Promoting a strong and vibrant NAPUS PAC helps elevate Postmasters’ visibility in political campaigns. In this way, NAPUS can help shape the composition of the next Congress and have an impact on its priorities.
NAPUS PAC campaign contributions are an essential aspect of conveying to the incumbent or the candidate for Congress our support and endorsement. It is a tangible expression of agreement with his or her individual goals. Contributions help ensure the re-election of our helpful friends in office.
Campaigns need money to effectively support candidates’ bids for office. Direct mail, television, radio and travel expenses all strain the financial resources of most campaigns. The cost for candidates to educate the public about themselves and their positions on relevant issues increases each year. In election year 2000, the cost of a viable congressional campaign generally exceeded $1 million. As a result, PAC support is essential to a winning congressional campaign.
During the year 2014 election cycle, NAPUS members raised approximately $403,000 for NAPUS PAC. NAPUS PAC has a strong record of involvement in viable pro-Postmaster bipartisan campaigns throughout the country. During the year 2014 election cycle, NAPUS PAC participated in approximately 300 congressional campaigns. Our PAC contributed more than $245,000 in an effort to elect Postmaster-friendly members of Congress.
For-profit Postal Service competitors (e.g., UPS and FedEx) and delivery upstarts are players in the PAC arena. They have used their vast financial resources to undermine the institution that helps support our families. This is one of many reasons Postmasters must contribute generously to NAPUS PAC. NAPUS’ involvement in the political process provides you with direct access to the decision- and policymakers who can pass laws and regulations that will directly affect your life.
Who Receives NAPUS PAC Funds?
NAPUS PAC uses many factors to determine how much or if a candidate for federal office will receive financial support. NAPUS PAC utilizes a questionnaire to help evaluate the candidates. In addition, questions that should be asked when assessing an incumbent member of Congress include:
* Is the member of Congress on the committee of jurisdiction over the Postal Service?
* Is the member in a leadership position or has seniority in Congress?
* What is his or her ability to influence legislation?
* Is the member on a key committee, such as Appropriations, Budget, Commerce, Rules or Ways and Means?
* Is the member a sponsor or co-sponsor of a bill that would benefit Postmasters?
* Does the member have a good “voting record” on key Postmaster legislation?
* Can the incumbent win re-election?
* Is the member accessible to Postmasters during Hill office visits and during visits in the home districts?
With the help of Postmasters throughout the country, we have been able to identify candidates with a serious chance to win the seat they are seeking. Several factors are considered:
* the strength of the campaign manager
* the potency of the campaign staff
* the polling numbers of the candidate
* the ability to raise campaign funds
* the historical performance of the candidate’s party in the district
* the satisfactory completion of the “NAPUS Candidate Survey”
In an effort to assure the candidate recognizes NAPUS Postmasters whom they will represent, the Government Relations Director encourages individual Postmasters or small groups to attend fund-raising events in congressional districts. (The director will notify the chapter legislative chair or PAC chair of events.) As a result, when Postmasters need to visit with a member in his or her district office or on Capitol Hill, the doors of communication are open and inviting.
Candidates for the House and Senate of the United States Congress are eligible to receive funds from our PAC. State representatives and gubernatorial campaigns are ineligible.
NAPUS PAC Organizational Structure
The Government Relations Director coordinates the activities of NAPUS PAC at the NAPUS National Office.
The director of government relations advises the national president on PAC and political issues. The director helps develop strategy to raise PAC funds and identifies potential candidates deserving NAPUS PAC support. The director serves as the registered PAC treasurer and is legally responsible for the accuracy of all FEC filings.
The director administers NAPUS PAC and is the primary contact between chapter PAC chairs and the government relations department. The director oversees all PAC activity, including ensuring that receipts and disbursements are accounted for accurately. The director makes certain all required PAC reports are in compliance with FEC regulations. The director also serves as the registered assistant treasurer for NAPUS PAC.
The National Legislative/PAC Committee chair periodically consults with the Director of Government Relations on PAC solicitation and political issues.
The chapter PAC chairs are responsible for soliciting PAC funds at all chapter events. In addition, in consultation with the Government Relations Director, the chairs should develop innovative techniques to solicit chapter members (see “Duties and Responsibilities”). The chairs work closely with the chapter legislative chairs to establish close contacts in state congressional offices.
Chapter PAC Committee Chairs
Each chapter president should appoint a PAC chair and enough committee members to carry out an effective PAC program in the chapter. Active and/or retired Postmasters can serve on the committee.
The chapter president should provide the director of government relations with the name, address, phone number and effective date of the newly appointed PAC chair as soon as the appointment is made. The director will provide training and assistance to the PAC chair.
Duties and Responsibilities
As chair of your chapter’s PAC program, you should:
* Attend the annual NAPUS Leadership Conference for training sessions and seminars.
* Solicit funds for chapter events and area/district meetings.
* In consultation with the NAPUS Director of Government Relations, implement creative contacts, correspondence and incentives.
* Write a monthly PAC article for your chapter newsletter.
* Maintain accurate records of all receipts in the chapter.
* Make sure a complete PAC envelope is prepared for each contribution received (this is an FEC requirement).
* Prepare and forward all receipts to our bank lock box or to the NAPUS Director of Government Relations (see “Processing PAC Receipts”).
PAC Supply Kits
PAC chairs should be prepared to accept PAC contributions as soon as possible following their appointments:
* How to order and when to order PAC supplies:
* All PAC supplies are stored at the National Office. To order a supply kit for your chapter’s PAC program, immediately contact the NAPUS Director of Government Relations at NAPUS PAC for Postmasters, 8 Herbert Street, Alexandria, VA 22305-2600; (703) 683-9027; fax, (703) 683-0923; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have early district, area or organizational meetings, you will need supplies for those meetings and enough to last until your state convention. Make sure you order convention supplies at least three weeks prior to your departure for the convention site. If you have fall meetings, you will order additional supplies immediately after the annual national convention.
What Supplies Should Be Ordered and How Much?
In an effort to curb the cost of PAC supplies and incentives, we dispense supplies on an as-needed basis. This helps run a successful program throughout all the chapters. When ordering supplies, in consultation with the NAPUS Director of Government Relations, consider the following:
* How many Postmasters are registered for your meeting or state convention?
* How many items were actually used in your chapter the previous year?
* Do you have a plan to use more of certain categories of pins in your chapter.
* What was the chapter’s prior year total PAC receipts?
Your PAC Supply Kit may include:
* A PAC manual
* A computer printout of your chapter’s receipts
* PAC envelopes (use for each individual contribution)
* PAC lapel pins (dispense appropriate pin for each level)
* PAC lapel ribbons
* PAC certificates
Solicitation of PAC Funds
The National/Legislative PAC Committee chairsends an annual direct-mail solicitation to all NAPUS members for NAPUS PAC contributions. All contributions received as a result of that solicitation will be applied toward each chapter’s solicitation effort for the year. Contributions will be credited to a chapter according to the member’s home address or “address of record” on file with the NAPUS National Office.
At chapter conventions, area/district meetings:
* Make prior arrangements with the chapter president to speak from the podium at the first business session. Confirm your presentation prior to and at arrival.
* Present a brief overview of the PAC program at that time and a statement of the “goal” for that event.
* Request several minutes at the beginning of each morning session to report on the progress of the “goal” and to present any awards and incentives, if applicable.
* Arrange for a PAC table to be located adjacent to the general meeting area. This will be convenient for Postmasters to make their contributions.
* Ask each area/state officer to encourage support of the PAC Committee’s efforts whenever possible.
* Work closely with the Chapter Legislative chair and the Legislative Committee.
Restrictions on Solicitations
Who Can Be Solicited?
Solicitation of PAC contributions must be from NAPUS members and members of their immediate families only. NAPUS members and NAPUS staff members are prohibited from soliciting funds from nonmembers. Any form of solicitation, whether written or oral, must adhere to the following Federal Election Commission regulations:
* Solicitations of PAC funds are prohibited in federal buildings (post offices are considered federal buildings).
* Solicitations for PAC funds via the mail must be addressed to each individual’s home address (a post office box is considered the home address of the box holder).
* National and chapter publications can be addressed to the Postmaster at the post office with news items related to the PAC program, provided no solicitation is made for funds.
* A solicitation cannot use threats of physical force, job or financial reprisals (each person solicited must be informed they may refuse to contribute without reprisals).
* Do not accept funds written from your chapter account as a PAC contribution.
* Membership dues are not permitted for use as a contribution to the PAC fund.
* Each person solicited must be informed that the funds will be used for political purposes.
* If the solicitation suggests a specific contribution amount, the person being solicited must be informed that (1) the guideline is merely a suggestion and he/she is free to contribute more or less than the suggested guideline, and (2) that NAPUS will neither favor nor disadvantage anyone by reason of the amount of his or her contribution or a decision not to contribute.
Nonmembers may contribute to NAPUS PAC under their own initiative. However, an unsolicited contribution may not be accepted if it is from:
* A national bank
* Foreign nationals
* Government contractors from a corporation
Processing PAC Receipts
The NAPUS Political Action Committee guidelines for processing PAC contributions must comply with Federal Election Commission regulations. Our process also seeks to expedite the process from receipt of the contribution to providing reports to our membership.
All chapter PAC programs should strictly adhere to the following primary regulations:
* Make certain each contributor completes a PAC contribution envelope.
* Do not open a separate bank account for PAC funds.
* Do not commingle PAC funds with your chapter account or your personal account.
* Do not deduct expenses for stamps or the cost of money orders from the collected PAC contributions; ask your chapter president to help you run your program by providing a small budgeted amount for minor expenses.
* Convert cash contributions to a money order or cashier’s check.
* Mail the cash contribution cards, along with the money order, to NAPUS PAC for Postmasters, 8 Herbert St., Alexandria VA 22305-2600.
* Place one check inside each completed PAC contribution card/envelope.
* Bundle these card envelopes together (without stamps).
* Place the bundle inside a mailing envelope and send the packet to NAPUS PAC for Postmasters, PO Box 75256, Baltimore, MD 21275-5256.
Note: Accept MasterCard/ VISA credit cards only.
Send the card envelope containing the credit card information to NAPUS PAC for Postmasters, 8 Herbert St., Alexandria, VA 22305-2600.
Note: Under federal law, a PAC contribution should be deposited into the PAC account no later than 10 days after receipt from contributor.
PAC Incentive Programs
NAPUS PAC has established an innovative and convenient way to support members of Congress and congressional candidates who support legislative issues that impact NAPUS members. Currently, this option is only available to retired Postmasters. It’s easy to participate. Through our automated system, an individual PAC contributor may make a contribution from his or her monthly annuity, using his or her Civil Service Administration (CSA) number. It’s as easy as making a phone call and following the prompts:
Step 1—Dial 1-888-767-6738, the toll-free number for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone system. Have your CSA number and personal identification number (PIN) on hand when you call.
Step 2—You may speak to an OPM Customer Service representative or you may use the automated system. Simply follow the prompts provided in the telephone system.
The amount you key in will be your monthly allotment to NAPUS PAC. The start of your allotment will depend on the time of the month it is requested. If you make your request during the first two weeks of the month, expect the withholding to take place the first of the following month. If the allotment is requested after the first two weeks of the month, the change will take place the second month after the request is made.
Annual PAC Chapter Competition
For several years, NAPUS PAC has run a competition among the chapters that is subject to change each year. Each chapter competes within four categories. The winning chapters receive a coveted eagle figurine mounted on a cherry wood base. A gold plate is mounted and engraved with the award category information.
Category I—“Total Chapter Contributions to NAPUS PAC” (chapters within a certain general size range compete with each other).
Category II—“Increased Contributions Percentage to NAPUS PAC” (the chapter’s increase in contributions over last year’s total).
Category III—“Average Dollar Amount in Contributions Per Member” (the number of members who did not contribute brings this total down).
Category IV—“Average Dollar Amount in Contributions Per Actual Contributor” (only the actual number of members contributing affects this total).
PAC Lapel Pins and Ribbons Program
Each year, NAPUS PAC offers contributors lapel pins, depicting the levels of their contributions. Currently, the PAC Pin Program consists of:
Each convention—Contributor of at least $10 receives a lapel ribbon.
The following contributions can accumulate in one year to receive the following pins:
Silver Pin—$25 contributor
Gold Pin—$50 contributor
Gold Pin with Ruby Chips—$100 contributor
Gold Pin with Emerald Chips—$200 contributor
Presidential Diamond Pin—$500 contributor
Boxed Set (of the first four pins)—$250 (one-time contributor)
How to Increase Interest in the PAC Program
NAPUS PAC has been extremely successful in generating contributions over the years. However, we need to develop new and innovative strategies to heighten PAC participation among new Postmasters and Postmasters who generally do not attend state conventions.
In addition to the incentive programs offered by the national PAC program, you can:
* Contact your chapter editor to encourage a permanent space in the state paper for a PAC article. Report on your PAC goal, human interest stories relating to PACs and/or general information on PACs.
* Create district or zone competitions within your state, where possible.
* Contact Postmasters in your chapter who do not participate to ask their suggestions and comments.
* Brainstorm with your chapter PAC Committee on how to encourage involvement from Postmasters of all levels.
* Attend the annual NAPUS Leadership Conference and national convention, whenever possible. The training received at the conference and networking with other PAC chairs can be invaluable.
* Distribute the new PAC appreciation certificates.
NAPUS PAC Program Maintenance
NAPUS PAC is maintained by a treasurer who is registered with the FEC. The PAC treasurer for PAC is responsible for:
* Filing complete and accurate reports and statements on time.
* Signing all reports and statements.
* Depositing receipts in our designated bank within 10 days.
* Authorizing expenditures.
* Monitoring contributions to ensure compliance with the law’s limit and prohibitions.
* Keeping the required records of receipts and disbursement.
NAPUS PAC uses PACpro by VOCUS, an FEC-approved PAC management software package, to manage its program on a day-to-day basis. This program enables NAPUS to:
* Track receipts and disbursements to campaigns.
* Provide chapter and individual record reports.
* Print laser checks direct from accounting tracking.
* File FEC reports electronically—effective Jan. 1, 2000, FEC regulations required all reports be filed electronically.
Additionally, NAPUS PAC commissions an independent auditing firm to provide annual audits of its records to assure accuracy and compliance with FEC regulations.
Questions and Answers
Q) How can I attend a fund-raising event in my congressional district?
A) When you become aware of an event, contact the Government Relations Department at the NAPUS National Office at least seven days prior to the event. (Do not attend the event and ask for reimbursement. NAPUS PAC can disburse funds to campaigns only.)
Q) How do I respond when my representative asks me to pledge PAC funds from NAPUS PAC?
A) Do not promise the member of Congress or candidate PAC money. State that you will confer with the Government Relations Department.
Q) What are the types of activities permitted under the new Hatch Act Reform Law?
A) On your own time, you may attend fund-raisers for political candidates, make phone calls/answer phones/work phone banks for candidates, stuff envelopes, distribute campaign literature, work the polls on election day and help with voter registration.
For further information on the Hatch Act or to obtain a ruling on a specific political activity, contact the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), 1730 M St., NW, Washington, DC 20036; (800) 872-9855 or (202) 653-7188.
Definition of Terms
Political Action Committee (PAC)—A separate, segregated fund sponsored by a “connected” organization, i.e., a trade association, labor organization or corporation.
Separate, Segregated Fund (SSF)—A political fund (such as NAPUS PAC) established for use by the association (NAPUS) to support political candidates for federal office.
Connected Organization—An organization (NAPUS) that uses its treasury funds to establish, administer or solicit contributions to a separate, segregated fund.
Multi-Candidate Committee—A political committee that has been registered at least six months, has more than 50 contributors and, with the exception of state party committees, has made contributions to at least five candidates for federal office.
Federal Election Commission (FEC)—The agency that administers and enforces the Federal Elections Campaign Act of 1971, as amended.
NAPUS Member—A person who satisfies requirement for membership, accepts NAPUS’ invitation to become a member, pays annual dues set by the organization, has voting rights to elect at least one of the highest elected officers and the right to vote on policy questions.
PAC Solicitation—A straightforward request for contributions—providing information on how to make a contribution—and/or statements encouraging support of NAPUS PAC.