A political action committee (PAC) is a group of people with common goals that collects money to contribute to candidates for political office. Cooperative Network manages PACs in Minnesota and Wisconsin to support state candidates who have demonstrated support for cooperatives and cooperative issues.
A committee of PAC contributors from each state supervises operations and guides contributions to candidates with advice from Cooperative Network staff on legislative voting records. The PACs support both Democrats and Republicans.
Fundraising is typically done through silent and live auctions at Cooperative Network’s annual meeting in November.
The Cooperative Outreach for Objective Politics (COOP) PAC was organized in 1974 by members of the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, now Cooperative Network. COOP contributions go to candidates for state office who support the legislative goals of cooperatives. COOP contributions encourage a strong bond and working relationship between cooperatives and elected officials. COOP contributions are an effective way of saying thank you to legislators who are sensitive to the interests and concerns of Wisconsin cooperatives and their members.
Cooperative Network administers contributions from the Wisconsin Statewide Telephone Cooperative Association through the COOP PAC.
Direct Givers Fund Conduit
In Wisconsin, Cooperative Network members also have the opportunity to be politically active through the organization’s conduit, the Cooperative Network Direct Givers Fund. A 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.
Cooperative Network’s conduit was formed in 1996 to provide co-op 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. Cooperative Network, the sponsoring 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.
The conduit allows Cooperative Network to track the political giving activities of its members and helps candidates recognize individuals as cooperative supporters. Contributions are transferred to state candidates with a check from the conduit account and individual contributors are listed on a transmittal letter that must accompany each check.
Wisconsin Farm Credit PAC & Conduit
Cooperative Network also administers PACs and conduits on behalf of its Wisconsin Farm Credit members, who are encouraged to contribute to the Wisconsin Farm Credit PAC and Wisconsin Farm Credit Conduit.
The Co-op PAC was organized by members of the Minnesota Association of Cooperatives, now Cooperative Network. Co-op PAC contributions go to candidates for state office who support the legislative goals of cooperatives. Co-op PAC contributions encourage a strong bond and working relationship between cooperatives and elected officials. Co-op PAC contributions are an effective way to thank legislators who are sensitive to the interests and concerns of Minnesota cooperatives and their members.