Part III: How to be an advocate, donating

April 8, 2022

Giving your money

If you don’t have the time to volunteer for a candidate, or you want to do more, you can always give money. Just like volunteering your time, there are multiple ways to make a financial impact in elections.

First, you can donate to a political party. This, just like volunteering your time, can allow your donation to be disseminated to the candidate who needs it the most. If you prefer, you can also donate to a specific candidate.

Each of the PIA Northeast states have some different rules and ways you can donate to candidates. These rules also determine whether you can donate to political action committees.

Connecticut

Unlike in federal elections and other states, Connecticut does not have political action committees. To support “clean elections” and prevent corruption in government, Connecticut has the Citizen Election Program. This program grants money to candidates for office so long as they meet three criteria:

  1. “Candidates must raise an aggregate amount of small-dollar monetary contributions from individuals between $5 and $290. The threshold amount varies based on the office sought;
  2. “Candidates must receive such contributions from a certain number of individuals residing in the district where the candidate seeks nomination or election for General Assembly or residing in the state where the candidate seeks nomination or election for statewide office. The threshold number of such individual contributors varies based on the office sought, as set forth in the next chart; and
  3. “Candidates must obtain access to the ballot, as discussed below. The method of ballot access is part of the process to measure public support and therefore determines the grant amount of a qualified candidate committee.”

If you want to help a favored candidate receive money from this program, make sure you make a qualifying donation.

New Hampshire

In the Granite State, you have the option to donate to a state Political Advocacy Organization, essentially a PAC, created to either support a specific candidate or party or to influence elections generally by supporting multiple candidates. Donating to a PAO can help you have a larger impact because you are joining your donation with those of others. Large donations, which not every individual can afford, speak louder than individual donations, and when these POAs donate to candidates you are speaking louder than your individual donation.

New Jersey, New York & Vermont

To have a larger impact in state politics, you should consider joining your donation with those of others by donating to a political action committee.

New Jersey agents can donate to PIANJ’s New Jersey PIAPAC. This organization supports state candidates  who work with PIANJ and support insurance industry bills and solutions.

New York agents can donate to Agents Advocacy Coalition, the Official PAC of PIANY. Agents Advocacy Coalition supports New York state legislators and candidates for the state Assembly and Senate who work with PIANY on solutions to industry issues and support independent agents.

While PIAVT does not have a PAC, there are still many PACs in Vermont that association members can support.

Large donations, which not every individual can afford, speak louder than individual donations, and when these PACs donate to candidates, you are joining with others and have a larger voice.

When you donate to PIA-specific PACs, you, as an independent agent, can be certain the money is going to those who are supportive of our industry.

Insurance is not often an issue candidates usually discuss during campaigns, so it can be difficult to determine which candidates you should support in this regard. However, PACs do that work for you and ensure your donation, along with those of other agents, go to candidates who will work with PIA at the state or federal level to fight for agents and their clients.

At the federal level

To have a larger impact on the federal level, you should consider joining your donation with those of others by donating to PIA National’s PIAPAC.

Large donations, which not every individual can afford, speak louder than individual donations, and when these political action committees donate to candidates you are speaking louder than your individual donation.

Insurance is not often an issue candidates discuss during campaigns, so it can be difficult to determine which candidates you should support in this regard. However, political action committees do that work for you and ensure your donation, along with those of other agents, go to candidates who will work with PIA at the state or federal level to fight for agents and their clients.

More in the Advocacy series

About the author…

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D.

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D., joined PIA’s Government & Industry Affairs team in 2018 as government and industry affairs specialist. Now, as the PAC coordinator & public policy analyst, she is responsible for managing political action committees in New York and New Jersey; tracking legislation and regulations; helping manage the association’s advocacy initiatives throughout the Northeast states; and drafting position statements and testimonies. Kat previously worked as a Senate fellow for the New York State Senate Fellowship Program; as well as an instructor of public policy at the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y. She also worked as a senior research aid and assistant for the SUNY Research Foundation, Albany, N.Y. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y., in May 2020. She also has her Master of Arts from SUNY Albany and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Elmira College, Elmira, N.Y.

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