FAQs: What is a Political Action Committee (PAC) and How Can I Contribute?

What is a PAC?

A Political Action Committee (PAC) is an entity permitted under federal law to make contributions to political candidates running for office at the state and/or federal level. PACs are regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and must file periodic reports detailing both contributions received and contributions made to particular candidates.

Why is the PAC run by ACP Services and not by ACP?

ACP is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Such organizations are set up for charitable, educational, and/or scientific purposes and are prohibited by the Internal Revenue Service from engaging in political activity. This precludes ACP from directly or indirectly establishing or supporting a PAC. However, ACP Services, Inc., a separate and distinct organization from ACP established in 1998 to provide advocacy , and other services for internist-members, is organized as a 501 (c)(6) tax-exempt entity and therefore allowed to create and operate a PAC. Members of ACP are automatically also members of ACP Services, Inc. and are permitted to contribute to its connected PAC.

Does ACP Services PAC support candidates for state office?

No. ACP Services PAC was established for the purpose of supporting candidates for federal office, i.e., the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. It does not participate in state campaigns, nor does it make contributions in support of or in opposition to state level ballot initiatives such as referenda and constitutional amendments.

From whom can ACP Services PAC solicit contributions?

FEC regulations dictate who PACs can solicit for contributions. ACP Services PAC may only solicit individual members of its connected organization (i.e., ACP Services, Inc.), the organization's executive and administrative personnel, and the families of both groups. Contributions can be solicited from those who pay membership dues on a regular basis and/or have voting rights in the governance of ACP Services and are a U.S. citizen or legal foreign resident. For ACP Services, these member categories are masters, fellows, members, and associates. Federal law prohibits the PAC from soliciting anyone not in these categories, such as non-U.S. citizens or non-legal residents.  Medical students are allowed to be solicited and may contribute to the PAC.

Can state or federal employees/contractors contribute to ACP Services PAC?

Can those individuals solicit their colleagues for contributions to the PAC?

Federal law precludes federal contractors from making contributions to federal candidates, but employees of such contractors can make contributions to federal candidates and can engage in political activities on their own time and in their personal capacity (i.e., not on behalf of their employers). Federal law does not address contributions from state contractors. State law may address such contributions, but that would only apply to contributions to state and local PACs or candidates, not federal candidates, which are government by federal law.

Who is eligible to join and contribute to the ACP Services PAC?

Any dues-paying and/or voting member s of ACP/ACP Services who are U.S. citizen s or hold green cards are eligible to join and contribute to the PAC. Under federal law, ACP Services PAC may only accept contributions from U.S. citizens and individuals admitted for permanent residence in the U.S. (i.e. green card holders). LR: 2-2013

How can I make a contribution to the PAC?

ACP Services PAC encourages members to make an annual contribution to the PAC in one of several ways. An individual may: Write a personal check payable to ACP Services PAC; Pay by credit card (MasterCard, Visa, or American Express) and submit this information to the PAC by fax, phone, or mail; or Make a secure on-line contribution Contribution forms are available on ACP Services PAC's website at www.acpservices.org/pac . Contributions should be mailed to ACP Services PAC, 25 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20001 - 7401. Our phone number is 800-338-2746; our fax number is (202) 835-0443. By law, ACP Services PAC cannot accept corporate contributions so please do not make your contributions using your medical practice checking account.

Where are my contributions directed once I contribute to ACP Services PAC?

Contributions go to political candidates for federal office (i.e. U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate) who share or support the policy objectives of ACP Services. Contributions made to ACP Services PAC are used exclusively to support candidates for federal office; not to fund administrative or operating expenses of the PAC.

How much money can I contribute to ACP Services PAC?

Individuals can contribute up to $5,000 annually to ACP Services PAC. A husband and wife each have separate $5,000 limits. Contributions are voluntary and are not tax-deductible. The PAC cannot accept corporate contributions of any kind.

How will my contribution be recognized?

Contributors to ACP Services PAC are recognized in several ways. Individuals who contribute to the PAC have the opportunity to recommend candidates for consideration by the PAC Board and to attend local fundraisers. Contributors also receive a newsletter, lapel pin, and ribbons at national meetings designating them as PAC members, have their names listed by giving level on the PAC website, and receive invitations to attend PAC member-only receptions.

How does the PAC decide which candidates to support?

A 15-member ACP Services PAC board of directors determines which candidates merit contributions from the PAC based on carefully developed guidelines, designed to ensure that internists' contributions to the PAC are spent wisely. Primary factor s determining whether a contribution is made to an incumbent, for example, are the position the candidate holds in the Congress, including committee assignments, and voting record on issues important to the specialty. The PAC supports both Republican and Democratic candidates who have a demonstrated track record of support for legislation that reflects the mission and goals of internal medicine.

Can I suggest candidates for the PAC board's consideration?

Yes. Contributors to the PAC are strongly encouraged to recommend candidates for federal office for the board's consideration who meet the criteria contained in the contribution guidelines established by the PAC and described above. If the PAC board determines that your request is consistent with the priorities contained in the contribution.