Frequently Asked Questions About PACs

The media portrays PACs as corrupting the political system. Do they?
PACs were created to replace the undue influence of large dollar contributors with a greater number of smaller, individual contributors. PACs are also the most regulated and scrutinized mechanism of financing a political campaign. Before PACs, there was almost zero regulation of large donations to candidates, which permitted a select few to control some political races. For all intents and purposes, PACs have given clout back to the small donor.

I don’t believe in contributing to candidates. Why should I?
You buy insurance for your home, car and business office to protect yourself against devastating financial loss. If bad legislation is passed by the Congress or the Idaho Legislature, your bank could be seriously restricted or financially strained. IBA’s PACs contribute to candidates who know, understand and support the banking industry – those who are advocates for banking issues. Contributing to political candidates is the best insurance against legislation that can hurt your banking business.

Why does Idaho BankPAC raise funds every year?
The campaign is held each year to ensure that both PACs are able to participate in election year activities as well as activities that are held between election cycles. During the off years, many important political events and fundraisers are held. For the IBA to be a significant player in the whole political process, it is imperative that we have a presence in as many political functions as possible every year.

I give directly. Why should I also give to IBA’s PACs?
It’s great that you contribute directly to candidates – you should! But you should also give to the IBA’s political action committees. IBA’s PACs represent a unified view and a contribution backed by the banking industry. Gathering contributions from many supportive bankers allows the IBA to make one large contribution to a candidate on behalf of the banking industry. Through your participation with IBA’s political action committees, your contribution has its greatest impact.

Why do you need money for both IBA FedPAC and IBA StatePAC?
We need to be involved in the political process in both Idaho and Washington. IBA FedPAC is our federal PAC and only contributes to candidates for federal office. IBA StatePAC only contributes to candidates for state office.

Can a bank holding company make a corporate contribution?
Yes, but depends. Bank holding companies, regardless of how their subsidiary banks are chartered, can legally make corporate contributions the IBA StatePAC. Corporate contributions to the IBA FedPAC are prohibited by federal law.

What will be done with the money collected?
The money will be contributed to the political campaigns of candidates running for federal and state office who are friends of banking. 100 percent of these contributions go to support the campaigns of worthy candidates.

Don’t PACs just buy votes?
No. PACs offer a legitimate way for bankers to support the candidates that know, understand and share the banking industry’s concerns and perspectives, or are at least receptive to our views.

Are IBA FedPAC and IBA StatePAC legal?
IBA FedPAC is registered with the FEC and files regular reports, while IBA StatePAC files regular reports with the Idaho Secretary of State. The IBA’s political action committees are legitimate, easy ways to show your support.

You give to a party I don’t support.
IBA’s PACs are nonpartisan and do not support candidates just because of their party affiliation. We consider the candidates’ support for the banking industry, the opposition they face in their election, and many other points.

Who is in charge of IBA’s PACs?
IBA’s political action committees are administered by a Board of Directors. The board is comprised of one banker from each of the 10 IBA groups, a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Who will decide where the money goes?
The BankPAC Committee makes the final decision about contributions. The Board encourages recommendations from all bankers.

I don’t like the candidates you supported.
It is not always possible to have everyone agree on who should be supported. The IBA BankPAC Board of Directors asks for recommendations from bankers in the state and acts on those recommendations.

Is there a legal restriction on who may participate?
Yes. You must be a U.S. citizen to contribute to any PAC. IBA FedPAC accepts personal contributions, while IBA StatePAC accepts corporate contributions.

Can I claim an income-tax credit or deduction for my contribution?
No. Political contributions are no longer allowed as charitable deductions. Any corporate contribution made to GBA StatePAC can be expensed by your bank as a regular business expense.

I don’t agree with IBA’s position on an issue.
Although you may not always agree with IBA positions, you surely support the overall IBA philosophy. If you want to help elect candidates who share our pro-business philosophy, contributing to IBA’s PACs is an excellent way.