June 1, 2011
By Craig L. Fuller
Maybe it goes without saying, but with 405,000 members, AOPA is an enormous organization—one of the largest member organizations in the United States. And with so many missions to fulfill, perhaps it isn’t surprising that AOPA is actually comprised of several organizations, all working together under one banner in support of pilots, community airports, and the cause of general aviation.
I’ve often been asked why AOPA needs more than one organization to achieve our goals, and I’d like to address that question today in this special column. In fact, much of the answer has to do not so much with AOPA, but with federal election laws.
For example, in addition to providing you with this magazine and other membership benefits, AOPA is allowed by law to use a certain portion of your dues for political efforts—representing your interests before Congress, state legislatures, and various regulatory agencies. However, under federal election law, AOPA is strictly prohibited from advocating for or against the election of any candidate running for the U.S. House or Senate.
That’s why we launched the AOPA Political Action Committee (AOPA PAC) in 1980. Many of our members aren’t fully aware of this unique organization, but AOPA PAC has a huge role to play in protecting general aviation.
Don’t you deserve to have your voice heard in Washington just like a union member, a teacher, a banker, or a business owner?
As a registered political action committee, AOPA PAC can and does get involved in federal elections, providing direct support to our friends in Congress when they need our help in tough reelection battles. Not only can AOPA PAC provide direct contributions to these candidates, but we can provide our members with specific information about particular candidates, including official endorsements at election time.
As you may know, our General Aviation Caucus in Congress now numbers 101 U.S. representatives and 29 U.S. senators—elected officials who have pledged to take our views into consideration before voting on key measures that affect the aviation community. When these members of Congress go out of their way to help our cause, we need to help them in return. Think about this: As a pilot, don’t you deserve to have your voice heard in Washington just like a union member, a teacher, a banker, or a business owner? All these groups have Political Action Committees to make their voices heard in Congress, and your interests are just as deserving as theirs.
That’s why AOPA PAC has a unique role to play among all our AOPA organizations. And frankly, there’s never been a more important time for you to get involved in AOPA PAC through your financial support. With key budget issues now under consideration in Congress, our friends need to know that we have the wherewithal to support them when the next election rolls around. In fact, any member of Congress—or anyone with an Internet connection for that matter—can look at our latest AOPA PAC financial reports on file at the Federal Election Commission. And from these reports, they can see in plain black and white whether AOPA PAC has the strength to support our friends when the next election rolls around.
Help support the only AOPA organization that can fight for your freedom to fly at election time. Give a special contribution to AOPA PAC today.
Thank you for making your personal mark on the future of general aviation!
By making a generous contribution to AOPA PAC, you’ll send a message to every member of Congress that pilots like you are serious about protecting your freedom to fly. And there is no contribution you can make that will have a greater impact in Washington, D.C., to protect our flying community.
Working alone, none of us can have much impact on the political process. But together with 405,000 fellow AOPA members, you can make a huge impact. So please, if you make only one political contribution this year, give a special gift to AOPA PAC today. AOPA PAC has a unique and vital role to play in protecting general aviation’s future—a role that, by law, no other AOPA organization can fulfill.
Thank you for everything you do for general aviation as an AOPA member!
AOPA President Craig Fuller was Vice President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff.
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