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DMA: Data and Marketing Association
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Direct Voice PAC FAQs

Prior
Authorization

What is “Prior Authorization” and why do I need to sign a form?

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) requires trade association Political Action Committees (PAC), like DMA’s Direct Voice PAC, to obtain written Authorization from DMA Corporate and Incorporated Non-Profit Members before the PAC can solicit and accept contributions from the company’s eligible employees.

Granting Prior Authorization simply gives Direct Voice PAC permission to solicit and communicate with certain employees (principals, managers and other salaried, exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act) about Direct Voice PAC and the role it plays in advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing in Washington. It does not obligate your company or employees to support or contribute to Direct Voice PAC.

Can anyone from my company sign the Prior Authorization form?

Prior Authorization may be granted by anyone authorized by your company. This includes the company’s chief executive, but may also include those designated to represent the company at DMA meetings.

Do I have to sign a Prior Authorization form every year? May I withdraw Authorization?

Prior Authorization maybe granted for up to five (5) consecutive years by your company and may be withdrawn for future years at any time. Only one Authorization form is required per member company. Yes, you may withdraw Authorization at any time.

Will Direct Voice PAC directly solicit my employees?

That’s up to you. By signing a Prior Authorization form, you could allow Direct Voice PAC to solicit all eligible employees in your company, or only certain individuals. The FEC defines eligible employees of a member company as “the company’s executive and administrative personnel or their families.” Executive and administrative personnel are paid a salary and have policy-making, managerial, professional, or supervisory responsibilities.

Our company has its own federal PAC, may I still contribute to Direct Voice PAC?

Yes. Even if your company has a federally registered PAC, your employees may still contribute to both Direct Voice PAC and to the company’s PAC; up to the federal maximum of $5,000 per PAC.

If our company signs a Prior Authorization form, may employees contribute to other PACs?

Yes. When a company signs a Direct Voice PAC Prior Authorization form, it does not preclude company employees from contributing to a state PAC, federal PAC, candidate PAC, corporate PAC, or an ideological PAC. The only restrictions are that a company cannot give Authorization to more than one trade association PAC per calendar year and company employees may not be solicited to contribute to the PAC of a trade association which has not received the company’s Prior Authorization.

Why should a company sign a Prior Authorization form?

The sole purpose of Direct Voice PAC is to elect candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate who support policies and legislation that advances and protects responsible data-driven marketing. PACs are a legal, transparent way for individuals to combine their financial resources to support Congressional candidates who share their views. By pooling resources, individuals leverage the strength of their contributions as an industry. Prior Authorization is the first step in this direction.

Political Action Committees

What is a PAC?

A Political Action Committee, or PAC, is an entity established and administered by a corporation, labor union, membership organization or trade association to provide financial support for candidates for elective office. Companies are barred from providing any direct political support to candidates for political office at the federal level and in many states. Instead, the Federal Election Commission has provided a voluntary mechanism—PACs—to provide individuals who have a common interest with a powerful way to leverage their financial contributions to candidates.

What is Direct Voice PAC?

Direct Voice PAC, is the Political Action Committee of the Data & Marketing Association and the marketing industry’s preeminent Political Action Committee. Funded through voluntary contributions from eligible member company employees, its sole purpose is to elect candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate who support policies and legislation that advances and protects responsible data-driven marketing.

This is why it is imperative that we have a strong voice in the many public policy arenas that affect our industry. A very important component of our federal affairs program is having a strong PAC. Organizations such as DMA are far more effective in protecting its members’ interests when DMA can help build relationships and elect pro-business candidates that understand our industry and support responsible marketing polices.

If DMA has lobbyists, why do we need a PAC?

DMA’s political advocacy is conducted by a team of government affairs professionals who represent the industry in Washington and state capitals across the nation.

The federal government, as well as most states, requires the engagement of PACs as a means of regulating and monitoring political fundraising and candidate contributions. Direct Voice PAC also gives us the ability to greatly leverage contributions from individuals. By combining our resources, the PAC is able to support dozens of candidates who play a key role in developing the policies that shape our industry. PAC contributions are leveraged even further because we often join with other like-minded companies to support candidates through industry events that include other marketing and advertising PACs.

Who is eligible to join Direct Voice PAC?

As a trade association, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) requires member companies to grant DMA permission to solicit certain employees (principals, managers and other salaried, exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act) about Direct Voice PAC and the role it plays in advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing in Washington. It does not obligate your company or employees to support or contribute to Direct Voice PAC. FEC regulations state that a company may only authorize one trade association PAC to solicit its executives per calendar year).

Why should I join Direct Voice PAC?

Our industry’s success depends on a variety of factors. In addition to ethical and responsible marketing, among other factors, the regulatory environment in which we are allowed to operate has a large impact on our success. By investing in Direct Voice PAC, you are investing in strengthening our prospects for success in the political and regulatory environment and in your own success as a member company employee. Direct Voice PAC also provides a means of becoming more politically involved and informed. As participants, we raise our collective voices on the business issues that impact us directly.

How does Direct Voice PAC decide which candidates receive contributions?

Our PAC supports candidates who best represent the industry’s business interests of advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing. Candidates are evaluated on a variety of factors, including: whether the candidates’ districts are located near our members’ business operations; policy positions and voting record on business issues relevant to our industry; membership on relevant policy committees; positions of leadership held and the candidate’s prospects for being elected.

Candidates’ positions on issues that are unrelated to the industry’s business interests are not considered part of the candidate evaluation process.

Are my contributions to Direct Voice PAC tax-deductible?

No. Contributions to Political Action Committees are not tax deductible.