is not a dirty word ...
principles: they govern your cooperative and your
country’s political structure. In order to run
effectively, a democratic government needs the active
involvement of informed citizens—just like your
cooperative needs the active involvement of informed
and committed members.
are grassroots democracies in action. But in order
for co-ops to benefit politically from that grassroots
power, individuals need to make a commitment to help
can carry out that important commitment by participating
in the Action Committee for Rural Electrification
(ACRE) and/or the WECA Direct Givers Fund—the
political action committee and conduit that support
candidates who are friends of rural electrification.
it: public policy decisions have a direct impact on
your livelihood and on your cooperative’s bottom
line. It is in the best interests of co-op members
and employees to support candidates who support rural
electric cooperative issues.
about the ultimate outcome for your co-op’s
future. Your decision to participate in the political
process will help ensure that your voice is heard
when important policy decisions are being made.
Rural Electrification (ACRE)
political action committee, or PAC, is an organization
of people with common goals that collects money
to contribute to candidates for political office.
Action Committee for Rural Electrification—was
organized in 1966 by members of the National Rural
Electric Cooperative Association. ACRE contributions
go to candidates who support the legislative goals
of rural electric cooperatives at the state and federal
levels. A portion of ACRE contributions is sent to
NRECA and then disbursed to Congressional candidates
or campaign committees. Another portion goes to the
Wisconsin ACRE Campaign Fund and is disbursed to state
legislative candidates and campaign committees. National
and state committees, working with association staff,
determine which candidates should receive contributions
supports both Democrats and Republicans. ACRE contributions
are based, first and foremost, on demonstrated support
for rural electrification. ACRE does not buy votes.
ACRE is simply an effort of rural electric people
nationwide to help elect individuals who support cooperative
objectives for rural electrification and rural America.
President, Bayfield Electric Cooperative
Route 1, Box 53
Mellen, WI 54546
Director, Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative
N2657 14th Road
Montello, WI 53949-9005
Director of Public Affairs, Cooperative Network
1 South Pinckney St., Ste. 810
Madison, WI 53703-2869
Direct Givers Fund
conduit is an organization that receives money from
individuals for political purposes. The money is
then deposited in a financial institution and transferred
to candidates or campaign committees by the conduit
administrator at the request of the contributor.
WECA Direct Givers Fund was formed in 1996 to provide
REC members, directors and employees with another
opportunity for political involvement. A key element
of the conduit is that each participant retains the
absolute right to decide when and where their contributions
are distributed. WECA, the administering body of the
conduit, follows political events and makes suggestions
as to where contributions would be most beneficial,
but the ultimate decision on whether a contribution
is made rests solely with each program participant.
conduit allows WECA to track the political giving
activities of its members and helps candidates recognize
individuals as cooperative supporters. Contributions
are transferred to candidates with a check from the
conduit account and individual contributors are listed
on a transmittal letter that must accompany each check.
Should I participate in ACRE or in the WECA Direct
A. PACs and conduits each have
their distinct advantages, so you should participate
in both programs if possible. One option is for
directors and employees to contribute to the Direct
Givers Fund via payroll deduction. Once you have
sufficient funds in the conduit, you could request
a check which in turn can be used to pay your ACRE
membership dues. You also designate which candidates
receive contributions from your account
How do I contribute to ACRE and/or the WECA Direct
A. Talk to your cooperative manager
or contact Bridget McCann-Horn at the Cooperative Network by calling (608) 258-4408 or
She’ll collect some basic information and request
a check made payable to ACRE and/or the WECA Direct
Givers Fund. It’s easy to get involved!
Are political contributions tax deductible?
Are there other ways I can get involved?
A. Yes! You can play an active role
in helping elect lawmakers who support co-ops and
rural electrification. Volunteer to stuff envelopes,
distribute literature or make get-out-the-vote calls.
Vote for candidates who have demonstrated support
for co-ops. Assist the efforts of WECA and other co-op
trade associations. For example, respond to special
requests to call or write your elected officials.
These contacts are invaluable!
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