The Presidential Election cycle has provided ACA’s political action committee, PaintPAC, with tremendous opportunities this year and PaintPAC has been busy trying to capitalize on these opportunities. Since the beginning of the year, ACA’s PaintPAC has made upwards of 45 contributions to candidates or Leadership PACs — both Republican and Democrat — in key races across the country.
Next month, voters across the country will head to the polls to elect a President, 435 members of Congress, 33 Senators, 11 Governors and countless state officials. ACA's PaintPAC allows the coatings industry to have a broad impact on elections all over the country at the federal, state and local levels. PaintPAC's philosophy is to make a connection with a decision-maker, and nurture that relationship so that we can count on an opportunity to provide some advice and education on those issues that impact our industry. These relationships are critical to our advocacy efforts, and during this Presidential election year, ACA’s PaintPAC is well-equipped to expand these relationships in quantity and quality
An essential aspect of ACA's role as an advocate for the industry is to educate decision makers with regard to important industry issues as it continues to face heightened challenges in both the political and legal arenas. 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 contain potential threats to and opportunities for the industry. All of these issues have political components and are directly affected by elected officials.
Campaign finance laws prohibit ACA, as a non-profit organization, from directly contributing to political candidates and to political parties. Contributions from a non-profit organization can be made, however, through the establishment of a PAC. As such, PaintPAC enables ACA member representatives and ACA staff to contribute to qualified political candidates and parties at the federal, state, and local levels who share our concerns and are pro-business. PaintPAC was established in July 2002, and over its 10-year history, has provided ACA and our members another very effective avenue to educate decision-makers at all levels of government.
During 2010, PaintPAC's Steering Committee approved contributions to 24 candidates, 22 of whom won seats in the mid-term elections. During 2011, 14 contributions were approved to candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, several state legislatures and a few leadership PACs in those states where campaign finance regulations make it very difficult to contribute directly to candidates.
Historically, PaintPAC has sought out candidates who fit a “pro-business” profile and would advance a “pro-business” agenda. PaintPAC has accomplished this by identifying candidates early in their careers and nurturing that relationship as they grow in seniority; using ACA’s Paint Council lobbyist to identify candidates in those bellwether states; and supporting candidates that are friends of the industry and candidates that are party and committee leaders.
This year, however, PaintPAC not only grew in terms of the number of contributions made across the country, but also in expanding its relationships with candidates with whom the industry has a natural rapport, to include those with whom industry seeks a partnership and to gain understanding. Uniquely shaping these new relationships is ACA’s landmark post-consumer paint stewardship program, PaintCare®. ACA created PaintCare®, a 501(c)(3) organization whose sole purpose is to ensure effective operation and efficient administration of paint stewardship programs on behalf of all architectural paint manufacturers in the United States. PaintCare® undertakes the responsibility of ensuring an environmentally sound and cost-effective program by developing and implementing strategies to reduce the generation of post-consumer architectural paint; promoting the reuse of post-consumer architectural paint; and providing for the collection, transport, and processing of post-consumer architectural paint using the hierarchy of reduce, reuse, recycle, and proper disposal.Across the political spectrum, PaintCare® is a win-win: it 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®. PaintPAC has sought to support these legislators in the hopes of establishing a working relationship that will benefit the industry in all issue areas.
As such, PaintPAC made a number of contributions to legislators in whose jurisdictions the PaintCare® program was being considered, or where ACA hopes to bring the program.
A few of candidates to whom PaintPAC contributed in 2012 are highlighted below; PaintPAC’s website is undergoing renovation, but a complete list of candidates and other PaintPAC news will be featured there soon.
Rep. Upton is Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. This committee has broad oversight jurisdiction over the U.S. EPA, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission, agencies that are intimately involved in regulating the coatings industry.
Rep. Sam Graves is Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, and a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, two committees that are extremely important to the paint and coatings industry. Over the last several sessions of Congress, Rep. Graves has championed several issues in the debate on the reauthorization of the federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Act, including urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a rulemaking on the fitness criteria for Special Permits and Approvals, and arguing against user fees for Special Permits. In addition, last year, ACA presented testimony before the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the issue of a recent DOT rulemaking regarding authority to "open and inspect" packages, another issue upon which Rep. Graves has invited the industry to participate in discussions.
Rep. Green has served in the U.S. House since 1993, and is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee where he is the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. The jurisdiction of the Subcommittee includesall matters relating to the regulation of solid, hazardous and nuclear waste, industrial plant security and toxic substances. Rep. Green has been very helpful on chemical security legislation. He was a co-sponsor of H.R. 908, which extended the authorization for the CFATS program until October 2017, without making any substantive changes, such as adding a requirement to consider so-called "inherently safer technology," or IST. The bill was referred solely to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. ACA testified in support of this bill, to which Rep. Green cast the sole Democratic vote in support. In addition, in an oversight hearing on Department of Homeland Security, he was asked some difficult questions involving DHS officials concerning personnel surety, a somewhat contentious issue between DHS and the industry. His responses were very supportive of ACA’s position. Rep. Green also participates in the House Manufacturing Caucus.
Speaker Oliver has been in the New Jersey General Assembly since 2004, climbing up the leadership ladder since her arrival, being named Assistant Majority Leader, then Deputy Speaker Pro Temporare and then finally Speaker of the Assembly. She is currently Co-Chair of the Legislative Services Commission. Speaker Oliver has supported prior ACA and its New Jersey Paint Council initiatives promoting lead poisoning prevention, and her leadership position plays a critical role in the legislative and political process.