CUNA announced Thursday the CUNA/League system will spend a record-setting $7 million in the 2020 election cycle to support congressional candidates on both sides of the aisle. Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC), the federal political action committee (PAC) for CUNA, will report a fundraising total in excess of $2.8 million for 2019.
This marks a record in the four-decade-plus history of CULAC.
“This record figure is a testament to the fact that credit union members have a vested interest in the political process,” said Trey Hawkins, CUNA deputy chief advocacy officer for political action. “The CUNA/League system stands apart from others in the political space because not only is CULAC generating grassroots funds, we’re supporting candidates who back the structure and mission of credit unions. Since the 1970’s our work has ensured that congressional candidates on both sides of the aisle champion credit unions.”
What differentiates CULAC from others in the industry is both its ranking among the most bipartisan PACs as measured by candidate support and its grassroots nature of fundraising, with donations from more than 33,000 of America’s credit union members.
CULAC’s average annual donor contributes just $84 annually, and more than 60% of all receipts are from donors giving less than $200 a year.
Thus far for the 2020 election cycle, over $1.8 million in contributions have been seeded to 355 candidates for the United States House of Representatives and Senate.
With $1.7 million cash on hand heading into this election year, the CUNA/League system expects to spend an industry record $7 million on the 2020 election cycle.
“Going into 2020, the true measure of our success will not only be the amount of money we raise, but the impact these investments will have on helping credit union champions win come November,” said Hawkins.
“Credit union members are invested in the financial services marketplace and pride themselves on being involved in the political process,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “We are grateful to have so many advocates willing to support pro-credit union candidates.”
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, CULAC remains among the most bipartisan national PACs, with support going almost equally to credit union-friendly candidates from both Republican and Democratic parties.
The PAC leaders take a politically strategic approach to campaign contributions, supporting those candidates who demonstrate an understanding of the credit union difference.
“The record setting nature of the funds raised underscores the priority that our community places on engaging in the political process. We have an interest in the process and a point of view to share,” Nussle added. “Our contributions support both parties across all aspects of the federal government and we are proud to bring our community’s voice to the table in a meaningful way.”
In the 2018 election cycle, over 380 credit union candidates received CULAC backing and were elected to the 116th Congress. This marked a 91% success rate on midterm election investments. Efforts from the trade group aim to create a voice for credit unions on both sides of the aisle.
According to recent data, 1 in 3 Americans are credit union members and 44% of registered voters belong to a credit union.