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Learn more about Organic PAC

What is a Political Action Committee?

A PAC allows an association like OTA to support—with financial and other resources— the election of officials who are aligned with the organization’s goals.
The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits nonprofit associations from making contributions of any kind to federal candidates, and places strict limits on how nonprofit associations may use facilities and resources in connection with political activities. 
  • PACs are authorized to solicit voluntary contributions of up to $5,000 per year from certain management-level employees of its association’s member companies.
  • A member company must give its permission to have the trade association solicit its executive personnel for contributions; a corporation may only provide such permission to one trade association per year.
  • Any OTA member company that already has a PAC may donate from their PAC to the OTA PAC.
  • With the funds it raises, a PAC is allowed to make contributions to candidates for federal office of up to $5,000 per election ($2,500 initially until certain requirements are fulfilled).
  • PACs are able to interact with candidates by hosting and attending fundraising events. Such events are often casual gatherings which provide a venue for open conversation.

Why establish an OTA Organic PAC?

The OTA Board authorized the establishment of an affiliated PAC as part of OTA’s commitment to increasing the effectiveness of the association’s U.S. government relations program.
  • A PAC is a relationship- building tool that is employed by organizations of all different types and sizes, for example: League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, Organic Consumers Association PAC, Monsanto Company Citizenship Fund PAC, Sierra Club Political Committee, etc.
  • The OTA PAC is closely integrated into the existing OTA government relations work and is another way the association can engage with policymakers to advance the organic industry’s interests
  • The OTA PAC will support candidates who share our common beliefs. The OTA PAC will assist OTA to:
    • Recognize the efforts of key organic champions in Congress
    • Support incumbent members of Congress and/or candidates who are or who can be influential in protecting or promoting organic agriculture and trade in new legislation 
  • The OTA PAC will also support candidates where organic has a footprint (i.e., areas of the country that have significant numbers of organic producers and/or traders) in order to cultivate and maintain those important relationships
  • The bipartisan OTA PAC will help OTA develop new relationships on “both sides of the aisle” and can be used as a means to educate candidates and develop new industry champions

How does the OTA Organic PAC operate?

The OTA Board appoints a PAC Committee with representation from members, Board of Directors and staff to oversee the OTA PAC, set and meet contribution goals, and authorize contributions to candidates.
  • The OTA PAC was established in January 2011, its first fundraising event was in conjunction with the OTA Policy Conference & Hill Visit Days
  • The overall composition of the OTA PAC Committee, to the extent possible, will reflect the diversity of OTA members (sector, supply chain, size, etc.)
  • A primary OTA PAC goal is to have as many members as possible participate; modest contributions from a larger number of OTA members’ executive employees will be sought over reliance on a handful of larger contributions
  • OTA, as the “connected organization” to the OTA PAC, may pay for all administrative and solicitation costs for the PAC and OTA staff may provide services to the PAC as part of their normal duties. This enables the PAC to dedicate all contributions to their election efforts without deducting administrative costs
  • The OTA PAC will operate in a bipartisan manner, with the sole screen being a candidate’s influence on organic policy
  • At this time, it is envisioned that the OTA PAC will operate at the federal level only