The American Pharmacists Association Political Action Committee (APhA-PAC) was formed in 1985. Its mission is to support candidates for federal office who have demonstrated support for pharmacy issues and recognize the value of pharmacists in the health care system. As a federal committee, the APhA-PAC can only contribute to candidates who are running for federal office. The PAC is a voluntary association of APhA members who share political objectives and pool their resources to increase the impact of their contributions to candidates who support the profession get and stay elected to Congress. APhA-PAC is not affiliated with any political party, or other pharmacy association.
The PAC is governed by an 8-member Board of Governors who oversee the fundraising activities of the Committee, as well as decide who receives an APhA-PAC contribution. The APhA-PAC Board makes a decision to contribute to a Congressional candidate based upon "pharmacy-friendly" criteria:
In addition, the APhA-PAC Board of Governors takes into consideration the recommendations of APhA members and affiliated state pharmacy associations when making a contribution to a candidate for Congress.
PACs are an important part of the political process; they provide access to legal money to finance an election campaign. For a candidate running for office, having access to PAC funds can provide an advantage over a challenger who doesn't.
PACs have been around since 1944, when the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) formed the first PAC to raise money for the re-election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. APhA's PAC is a tool in which pharmacists can maintain presence in a crowded arena of special interests in the federal election process. The APhA-PAC provides members with an opportunity to pool financial resources, to make more substantial contributions than could be accomplished by individuals alone. The APhA-PAC is the best tool that pharmacists have for supporting candidates who share our views on important issues.
Public policies affect every aspect of how pharmacists apply knowledge, experience and skills to ensure optimal drug therapy outcomes for patients. Public policies influence how pharmacists are able to serve humankind through the profession of pharmacy. APhA PAC's aim is to keep in office or elect federal candidates who understand our issues and will work with us in developing sound public policies. Through PAC contributions and other outreach efforts, APhA is able to build positive relationships with elected officials and candidates who make policy decisions affecting pharmacists. The PAC enables individuals to participate in the political process and allows APhA members to pool their resources to promote common interests and have a greater impact than any one member could individually. PACs can serve as a vehicle for a united voice to present a viewpoint to the federal government. The APhA-PAC enables individuals to become involved financially with their professional livelihood in a powerful and positive way.
PACs are regulated by federal campaign finance laws. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) was established by the 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act law (FECA). The FEC collects detailed financial activity of all PACs on a frequent basis and makes the reports available to any citizen. All federal PACs operate under strict limits on what they can give per candidate per election. They are the most legal, transparent, federally monitored means of contributing to political candidates.
Contributions to political action committees are recognized as a regulated means of participating in the political process. PACs are an outgrowth of campaign finance reform and are the preferred method to finance campaigns because of the way they are regulated and that information is disclosed. A PAC defends pharmacists’ interests by supporting legislators who understand and advocate for our mission. Good candidates can have superb ideas and a great message, but without money to help them get the message through they have no chance to convince voters they are right for the job. APhA's PAC uses the funds to educate them on our issues and our industry.
A "super PAC" is a political action committee that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from corporations, individuals, unions and associations. Super PACs do not need to disclose the contributors or amounts received. A "super PAC" can only make independent expenditures to candidates without coordinating directly with a candidate. According to the Federal Election Commission, when a "super PAC" makes a contribution, it cannot be "in concert or cooperation with or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, the candidate's campaign or a political party". APhA's PAC can only accept contributions from individual APhA members with a limit of $5,000 per year. APhA's PAC can not accept funds from corporations, unions or other associations and also must disclose who has contributed over $50. APhA's PAC can make direct contributions to candidates on behalf of the pharmacy profession.