Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, as a member-owned utility, must be diligent in looking out for the interest of its members. At the local level and through our statewide and national associations, we monitor legislative and regulatory developments to try to make sure that local, state and federal laws and rules are not detrimental to the energy interests of our members.
In addition to telling our story to our representatives through our lobbying activities, co-op employees, trustees and their families participate in the legislative processes by making contributions to the Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE). As a political action committee (PAC) ACRE makes contributions to candidates for public office who are supportive of positions of electric cooperative members.
Also, CAEC invites you to support elected officials who are concerned about your community and your interests as an electric consumer. You can join us as a grassroots proponent for fair energy policy by becoming a member of the ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action®. You can sign up to become a member, and we will add your membership contribution to your monthly electric bill. For example, for just $2.08 per month, you can become a regular member and help us have a profound effect on the political process. Co-ops are strong because of the grassroots support of people like you.
Through our strong grassroots efforts, we are acknowledged by our representatives and the causes important to our members. During our 2020 Annual Meeting, the two Alabama Senate candidates sent messages concerning the need for rural broadband in our area.
What is ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action®?
ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action gives you, if you are a CAEC consumer-owner, the opportunity to raise your voice on behalf of your cooperative. State and federal government officials make policy decisions that affect your local cooperative and your way of life. Discussions on national energy policy and an energy bill occurring right now could have a drastic effect on CAEC members. This program is an easy way for you to help determine who gets elected to make those decisions.
The Action Committee for Rural Electrification® (ACRE)® is the political action committee (PAC) of the nation’s electric cooperatives. Founded in 1966 by the approximately 1,000 cooperatives of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), it supports candidates for state and federal office – those in office now and running for office – who will speak for and protect the interests of electric cooperatives and their consumer-owners.
Your participation in the nationwide ACRE program ensures that the voice of electric cooperatives remains strong in our nation’s capital and in your state legislature. Maintaining a strong grassroots presence in the political process is instrumental to the long-term success of the electric cooperative program and the communities they serve in these unpredictable times.
What is a Political Action Committee (PAC)?
The law allows individuals with common interests to pool their resources using PACs to make political contributions to candidates for state and federal office. Currently over 25,000 like-minded supporters of the electric cooperative program combine their contributions through ACRE.
Candidates who receive a substantial contribution from ACRE get an important message about your interest in your local community’s electric cooperative. The candidate knows that the electric cooperative consumer-owners and employees who supported them want to elect individuals to office who will make good policy decisions on their behalf.
Are contributions to ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action tax-deductible?
No. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has ruled that all political contributions, such as those to the ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action program, are not tax deductible.
What do I receive for my contribution?
The most important benefit that you receive as an ACRE member is a voice in helping elect state and federal officials that will support your cooperative and your community. In addition, you will receive quarterly issues of the ACRE® Action newsletter, which includes legislative alerts, profiles of cooperative leaders, and other timely features.
Where does my contribution go?
With the exception of a small federal tax payment of less than 1 percent, all contributions to ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action go directly to the campaigns of candidates for political office. In addition, a portion of your contribution (about half) will be refunded to your state electric cooperative PAC to support candidates for state office.
Who determines how these contributions are made?
ACRE follows established procedures for making contributions to candidates running for political office. Factors that determine financial support include the candidate’s position on issues critical to electric cooperatives, as well as their votes and public statements on these issues; the candidate’s committee assignments and leadership positions and his or her relative importance to cooperatives; and a candidate’s financial need and the strength of his or her opponent. The candidate’s political affiliation is never taken into account.
Individual states have their own guidelines for making contributions to candidates for statewide offices. While these rules are set by the individual states, they often mirror those guidelines used by the national ACRE program.
Do I really make a difference?
CAEC’s ability to serve you and your community is heavily dependent on folks like you who use ACRE to get the right people into political office. The personal dedication of consumer-owners to stand together forms the backbone of a powerful grassroots network that promotes policies to secure the future of your electric cooperative and the families they serve.
This is an opportunity to make a huge difference.
ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action are strictly voluntary. Contributions to federal and state Political Action Committees are not deductible for tax purposes. Consumer-owners have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. The contribution guidelines are suggestions only. You may contribute more or less than the recommended amount. Contributions may be stopped at any time upon notification to the cooperative .