Having a voice in politics is vital. The volume of a PAC’s voice in politics is directly related to its ability to donate in a significant way to as many candidates as possible. New Jersey PIAPAC supports candidates for state office, including for governor and the state Legislature, who have a proven track record on insurance issues important to independent agents and who want to work on making our industry better for consumers.
While NJPIAPAC has a loud voice, it could, and needs, to be louder to compete with the hundreds of other political action committees in the state of New Jersey.
Fundraising of other PACs in New Jersey
Based on data from the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission PAC filings, there are over 1,800 PACs in New Jersey. Of those nearly 2,000, there are 51 “professional PACs,” including NJPIAPAC and five other insurance PACs. Among these PACs, there is a large variance in the amount of money they bring in and distribute throughout the year, based on the 2021 election year filings.
Comparing NJPIAPAC to other New Jersey PACs
When it comes to elections, we are competing for influence against other industries. How does NJPIAPAC stand up against other industry PACs?
Below is a chart with the starting balance for NJPIAPAC and eight other PACs for the 2021 election year and 2022 off year, two from the insurance industry and six from other professions. As you can see, NJPIAPAC is toward the bottom of this list—though we started 2022 with a low balance because we had an aggressive plan of giving for the 2021 election.
INSURANCE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES
(Money on hand at start of 2021 & start of 2022)
|PAC||Start 2021||Start 2022|
|NJ Association for Justice PAC (trial lawyers)||$425,285.64||$253,507.23|
|NJ Funeral Directors PAC||$432,369.69||$407,196.72|
|NJ Society of CPAS PAC||$361,141.00||N/A|
|Health Insurance Agent PAC (HIAPAC)||$87,274.49||$76,210.22|
|New Jersey PIAPAC||$20,821.12||$4,546.24|
|NJ Independent Insurance Agents PAC||$9,148.37||$5,748.37|
|Garden State Pharmacy Owners Inc. PAC||$5,097.66||$18,502.34|
|NJ Society of Professional Engineers||$5,043.84||$3,993.84|
While the above numbers might make it look as if some of these PACs only spent a few thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars, it does not tell the whole story. If we will look at the top two PACs—Realtors PAC and NJ Association for Justice PAC (trial lawyers)—it will give us a better idea of how much money these PACs actually spent in the 2021 election year.
According to end of the year filings, the trial lawyers donated $489,100 to candidates, while the Realtors PAC donated more than double that—$1,074,175.28. In comparison, NJPIAPAC donated a total of $37,050 in 2021. While the NJPIAPAC is very proud of its giving level, it is clear our political voice has the potential to be drowned out by the louder voices of other industry PACs.
How can agents help?
If every PIANJ member gave just $250 a year, we would bring in over $100,000 and while not on the same level as many of these other industry PACs, would greatly strengthen the independent agent voice in New Jersey politics and help elect those candidates who want to work with our association on solutions to industry problems.
If you want to get involved with PIANJ’s legislative and advocacy work, there are many ways to engage with the association:
- participate in PIANJ’s District Office Visit Program by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org;
- become a member of New Jersey PIAPAC; and
- watch your PIA Northeast publications and PIA Northeast’s social-media channels for important New Jersey updates, and share them with your followers.
Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D.
Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez 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.