What is ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action?
The Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE®) is a multi-candidate political action committee (PAC). ACRE was formed in 1966 with the mission of making the voice of rural electric cooperative consumers heard in the U.S. Congress. ACRE is among the top 100 largest PACs in the nation with over 33,742 individuals contributing.
ACRE is truly a grassroots PAC. As of 2016, 10,676 like-minded supporters of the electric cooperative program have joined ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action® (Co-op Owners), the PAC’s consumer arm. Co-op Owners gives you, the member, an opportunity to raise your voice on behalf of your electric cooperative. State and federal government officials make policy decisions that affect your local cooperative and your way of life. This program is an easy way for you to help determine who gets elected to make those decisions. Co-op Owners supports current and potential candidates for state and federal office who will speak for and protect the interests of electric cooperatives and their member-owners — those who share our cooperative values.
At just $2.08 per month, your participation in the nationwide Co-op Owners program ensures that the voice of electric cooperatives remains strong in our nation's capital and in our state legislature. In these unpredictable times, maintaining a strong grassroots presence in the political process is instrumental to the long-term success of the electric cooperative program and the communities served by electric cooperatives.
What is a political action committee?
The law allows individuals with common interests to pool their resources using PACs in order to make political contributions to candidates for state and federal office. 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 member-owners and employees who supported them want to elect individuals to office who will make good policy decisions on their behalf.
Are contributions tax-deductible?
No. The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that all political contributions, such as those to ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action, are not tax deductible.
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) may go 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?
Our ability to serve you and your community is heavily dependent on people like you who use ACRE to get the right people into political office. The personal dedication of member-owners to stand together forms the back-bone of a powerful grassroots network that promotes policies to secure the future of your electric cooperative and the families it serves. This is an opportunity to make a huge difference.
The most important benefit that you receive as a Co-op Owners 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.
Stand with your cooperative as we fight to keep your electric bills affordable. Contact our office at 1-800-533-8658 to join ACRE today!
Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives is a national network of electric cooperatives across 46 states that provides resources and leverages partnerships to help member cooperatives and their employees better engage and serve their members. By working together, Touchstone Energy cooperatives stand as a source of power and information to their 32 million member-owners every day.