What is TOYPAC?
TOYPAC is a political action committee created by TIA on behalf of the toy industry. TOYPAC is regulated by the Federal Election Commission and the process of giving to the PAC as well as the disbursements to candidates is fully transparent. TOYPAC does not align with one specific political party and contributions are determined by what is in the best interest of the industry.
What is a political action committee (PAC)?
The term “political action committee” (PAC) refers to two distinct types of political committees registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC): separate segregated funds (SSFs) and non-connected committees. Basically, SSFs are political committees established and administered by corporations, labor unions, membership organizations or trade associations. Toy Industry Association’s PAC is an SSF. SSFs can only solicit contributions from individuals associated with the connected or sponsoring organization in accordance with federal regulations.
- I already make political contributions, so why join and give to the TOYPAC?
A PAC contribution gives more “bang for the buck.” Individual donations are important, but can disappear into a larger pool of contributions without any record of why that individual is supporting the candidate. Contributions to TOYPAC are used for donations from TOYPAC to candidates, and are delivered to candidates with a clear message of who we are—as a group—and who that candidate needs to listen to. Furthermore, you may contribute to TOYPAC while continuing to make personal contributions to candidates of your choice (subject to applicable legal limitations on political contributions).
There is an urgent need to establish and maintain our association as a strong, concerned and active political force. When you join TOYPAC, you help assure your association’s involvement in the democratic decision-making process. The quality and nature of laws, rules and regulations affecting the toy industry are determined by elected officials. Your contribution through TOYPAC membership, when combined with the contributions of many others, can affect who is elected — who will write the laws. TOYPAC will financially assist candidates who demonstrate a realistic approach to solving the problems faced by the industry and its member companies. There is strength in numbers. A contribution from TOYPAC speaks for our industry. Elected officials seldom overlook a large, well-informed constituency.
- How is TOYPAC money spent?
TOYPAC funds are used solely for the purpose of contributing directly to federal and state candidates and other lawful purposes under FEC rules. The PAC is bipartisan and supports candidates whose positions and decisions are consistent with the mission of our association and will benefit our members and their employees. Criteria for making contributions and the amount of such contributions include the candidate’s support of the issues important to our association, the candidate’s committee assignment(s), the candidate’s voting record, the candidate’s district and location, and the candidate’s opponent. Decisions on contributions are overseen by TOYPAC’s Board of Directors.
- Does our PAC money only go to candidates of one party?
No. We will support candidates of any political party (or no political party) who support our issue agenda when we believe such a contribution would be in our strategic interests.
- Who administers TOYPAC?
The affairs of the TOYPAC are governed by Articles of Association and in accordance with applicable federal laws. TOYPAC is overseen by a Board of Directors which shall initially consist of three members, ratified by the Toy Industry Association Board of Directors and they are representative of the Toy Industry Association membership.
- Who may contribute to the TOYPAC and how much are they allowed to contribute?
Various classes of individuals are eligible to contribute to TOYPAC. Generally, contributions may be made by members of the “restricted class” of persons associated with CEC. The restricted class consists of:
- The association’s executive and administrative personnel;
- The families of the above group
- Individuals who are employed by Toy Industry Associations member companies and have provided “prior approval” to be solicited for donations to this PAC.
Only United States citizens and foreign citizens lawfully admitted for permanent United States residence are eligible to make contributions to TOYPAC. Individuals may contribute up to $5,000 to CEC PAC per calendar year.
- Am I required to contribute to TOYPAC?
No. Contributions to TOYPAC must be voluntary and will not affect your status with your company or the association. Contributions may not and will not be secured by the use or threat of physical force, job discrimination or financial reprisal.
- Our company has its own Federal PAC. Can we still contribute to TOYPAC?
Yes. Even if your company has a federally registered PAC, your employees can still contribute up o $5,000 each year to TOYPAC. The same holds true for Federal PACs that give a “PAC-to-PAC” contribution to TOYPAC.
- Are contributions to TOYPAC tax-deductible?
No. Contributions to TOYPAC are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.
- How can I contribute to TOYPAC?
You may contribute to TOYPAC through personal check, credit card or by automatic payroll deduction. You must use the TOYPAC Enrollment Form to designate how much you wish to give and the method you wish to use to contribute to the TOYPAC. The law limits contributions to $5000 annually and the PAC is required to disclose the names and occupations of any contributor who gave more than $200 a year.
- What is “Prior Approval” and why do I/my company need to sign a form?
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) requires our political action committee to obtain written approval from Toy Industry Association members before it may solicit and accept contributions from employees of the member company.
Granting Prior Approval does not obligate the company or its employees to support the PAC – it simply gives Toy Industry Association permission to communicate in much greater detail about the PAC to certain employees (a member’s owners/principals, managers, professional personnel, and other salaried, exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act) and the role TOYPAC plays in advancing and protecting the industry’s interests in Washington.
- Can anyone from the company sign the Prior Approval form?
Prior Approval may be granted by anyone so authorized by the company. This includes the company’s chief executive or the owner/principal, but may also include those designated to represent the company at Toy Industry Association state and national meetings.
- Do I have to sign a Prior Approval form every year? Can I withdraw approval?
There is no limit on the number of years such approval can be authorized. However, the company may withdraw such approval at any time. Only one approval form is required per company; however, a signature is required for each year such approval is authorized.
- Will TOYPAC directly solicit employees at my company?
That’s up to you. By signing a Prior Approval form, you could allow Toy Industry Association PAC to solicit all principals and senior executives in your company, or only certain designated individuals in the company. You could also give Toy Industry Association approval, but request that no solicitations be made to company employees, and Toy Industry Association will honor the request.
- If our company signs a Prior Approval form, can company members contribute to other PACs?
Yes, when a company signs a TOYPAC Prior Approval form, it does not preclude company employees from contributing to a state PAC, candidate PAC, corporate PAC, or an ideological PAC (i.e. National Rifle PAC, AARP, etc). The only restriction is that a company cannot give prior approval to more than one trade association PAC.
- Why should a company sign a Prior Approval form?
In practical terms, granting Prior Approval allows company employees who wish to support TOYPAC the ability to do so, since TOYPAC cannot accept contributions without a signed Prior Approval form. Because TOYPAC is the toy industry’s biggest and most effective tool for helping to elect candidates that support policies favorable to the industry, we need the support of every member to ensure the industry’s voice is heard on Capitol Hill and in the state capitals.
Questions or requests for further information should be directed to TOYPAC@toyassociation.org or (202.459.0355)