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AOA-PAC

AOA-PAC fights and wins for optometry. It is the only political action committee working to elect and re-elect pro-optometry candidates to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, allowing us to support the lawmakers who support us.

2020 AOA-PAC-endorsed U.S. House and Senate incumbents and candidates

Despite the unprecedented disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic and economic downturn, the AOA has continued to be an advocacy force in the nation’s capital. The strength and reach of AOA-PAC is a major reason why AOA has been consistently named as one of the top advocacy organizations in Washington, D.C.

For the 2020 general elections, AOA-PAC reinvested nearly $1.8 million back into the campaigns of hundreds of pro-optometry Democratic and Republican incumbents and candidates for the U.S. House and Senate. Though, with more participation among AOA members, AOA-PAC could have had an even greater impact. Unfortunately, less than 10% of AOA members are current PAC investors.

Please click on your state in the interactive map below to see a full list of AOA-endorsed incumbents and candidates. AOA-PAC endorses and supports the campaigns of U.S. House and Senate incumbents and candidates that have demonstrated an understanding of the needs of patients and the profession and a commitment to advancing pro-access, pro-patient policies. Contact AOA-PAC directly at aoapac@aoa.org for more information.

Donate to AOA-PAC

Set up a recurring donation

AOA-PAC depends on a consistent support of AOA members nationwide to make our voices heard in Washington. AOA-PAC is 24/7/365 and being able to count on resources helps Optometry stay at the table in Washington, DC. Please consider supporting us on an annual, quarterly, or monthly basis. This is the most efficient and hassle free way to support the advancement of Optometry. Please contact us to set up a recurring donation.

Make a one-time donation

We cannot continue to go into high stakes advocacy battles without your support. Your one time contribution will help us continue to support candidates that support you and the patients you serve. We’re counting on you to step up for the profession. Donate today!

One-time donation

AOA-PAC

Organized medicine and ophthalmology, insurers and vision plans and internet contact lens mass retailers relentlessly and repeatedly attack our small profession on Capitol Hill, and aggressively back efforts to turn back the clock on our wins and gain control over how we practice. Although we cannot hope to match these groups dollar for dollar in the political arena, we can continue to outthink and out-work them, and keep our seat at the table whenever and wherever health care policy decisions are made.

Candidate support criteria

In today's world, running for office is a complicated and expensive proposition. Helping a candidate run a campaign by financial support is a legitimate way of participating in the political system.

Today, with the cost of campaigning so high, it is difficult to determine when one campaign ends and another begins. Candidates and campaign committees have become much more sophisticated in terms of raising dollars and specifically in terms of raising PAC dollars.

All things considered; it becomes even more important for PACs to put their money where it counts. AOA-PAC dollars are not limitless and so criteria has been established to determine which candidates will be supported by AOA-PAC.

AOA-PAC makes two basic types of contributions

Ticket purchases for Washington receptions of incumbent legislators account for about 35% of AOA-PAC contributions. These purchases are based on a review of past support and are determined within the Washington office with final approval by the AOA-PAC Treasurer. Before making a final decision on participating in a fundraiser, the AOA-PAC office will check with an AOA-PAC volunteer within the state. Washington based fundraisers have the advantage of allowing the AOA staff who work with the member and his respective subcommittee/committee to meet face to face with the Member and/or his staff. These fundraisers also provide staff with the opportunity to meet other legislators.

The remaining portion of AOA-PAC contributions are contributed directly to the candidate by one or more doctors of optometry in the district. These contributions are usually made early in the election year. For the most part, these contributions are made at the request of a politically active doctor of optometry. This type of policy helps to further establish relations between Key people and their legislators.

Out of necessity, flexibility is built into the guidelines listed below. However, please note that throughout, there is an emphasis on information. Before requesting an AOA-PAC contribution, a doctor of optometry should be aware of their candidate's position on optometric issues, support for the profession and their electability. 

There are vast resources available to AOA-PAC when researching a candidate. Each national political party has three independent campaign fundraising arms which, in addition to supporting candidates with dollars, also provide accurate and timely information and evaluation of their candidates. They will also schedule face-to-face meetings with PAC representatives. Other national PACs within Washington provide information on candidates  and political newsletters are invaluable. Today, blogs are another good source of information. The Federal Election Commission, located in Washington, also provides a wealth of information. In the district, AOA-PAC depends upon key individuals within the state for information. The following criteria must be considered in all AOA-PAC contributions to candidates for federal office.

General criteria

  • Except in unusual circumstances, as defined by the AOA-PAC Executive Committee, contributions will not be made to more than one candidate in any given election.
  • Except in unusual circumstances, contributions will not be made to candidates involved in primary races.
  • All contributions made to candidates for federal elective office are made with the support of politically active doctors of optometry within the state.
  • All contributions, except for Washington-based fundraisers, will be sent to a Keyperson in the district to present to the candidate.
  • Candidates must be credible and competitive.

Criteria for doctors of optometry seeking Federal elective office

In the past, AOA-PAC has supported doctors of optometry seeking federal elective office to the maximum extent possible. These candidates were supported by their respective state associations and were viable candidates.

Criteria for incumbents

The past voting record of incumbent candidates will be an important consideration in contribution decisions. Their support of the profession, both in Washington and the district, will be scrutinized and will play an important role in the final decision-making process.

Those incumbents holding leadership positions or serving on key committee/subcommittees will certainly be eligible for consideration of an AOA-PAC contribution.

Open seats

Special emphasis may be placed on candidates campaigning for seats in elections where there is no incumbent candidate. Candidates will be evaluated on the basis of a philosophical agreement with AOA and future support for legislation of importance to optometry and health care in general.

Challengers

The background of the incumbent is reviewed as well as the background of the challenger. After polling AOA members within the state, AOA will make a determination as to support of a particular candidate.

FAQs

What is AOA-PAC?

The American Optometric Association Political Action Committee is a voluntary nonprofit, unincorporated committee of doctors of optometry. This committee is not affiliated with any political party or any other political committee.

Why support AOA-PAC?

As the role of government continues to expand, it becomes increasingly important to support candidates seeking federal office who understand the legislative issues facing optometry. Since the composition of the U.S. Congress changes so frequently, AOA-PAC's role must be a continuing one. AOA-PAC, as well as the AOA Washington office, is your voice in the nation's capital.

What is the purpose of AOA-PAC?

The major purposes of AOA-PAC are:

  1. To make contributions from voluntary funds to candidates for national office, who have demonstrated their interest in vision care. These contributions are made without regard to party affiliation.
  2. To promote the improvement of vision care, public health, and the government by encouraging doctors of optometry to become more aware of government affairs.
  3. To encourage doctors of optometry to become more aware of government, the important political issues, the records of officeholders and candidates, and their role in this process.

Where does my money go?

Under federal law, incorporated associations, like AOA, cannot contribute to candidates seeking federal office. However, associations can support candidates through the formation of a separate organization such as a political action committee (i.e. AOA-PAC). Your voluntary contributions are used solely for contributions to candidates seeking federal elective office.

How is my money spent?

Due to its limited funds, AOA-PAC must apply a rigid priority system in allocating its resources. AOA-PAC supports those candidates whose understanding of the profession has previously been demonstrated.

As an AOA-PAC member, do I have a say in how this money is spent?

As an AOA-PAC member and as one who is politically active, your input is essential in determining those candidates whom AOA-PAC will support. The AOA-PAC Board of Directors, comprised of proven leaders in the optometric profession and appointed without regard to personal party affiliation, approves all contributions from AOA-PAC to candidates seeking federal office.

Contact us for additional information

AOA-PAC
1505 Prince Street, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.739.9200
703.739.9497 FAX

Disclaimer: Contributions to the AOA-PAC are for political purposes and are not tax deductible. This communication is intended for AOA members only, which alone are able to invest in AOA-PAC; please do not forward. You have the right to refuse to contribute to AOA-PAC without the fear of reprisal, and any guidelines for contributing are merely suggestions; you may contribute more (up to $5,000 per year) or less than the guidelines suggest, or nothing at all. AOA will not advantage or disadvantage anyone by reason of the amount of their contribution or their decision not to contribute. An individual must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident to contribute to the PAC. Federal law requires us to use best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer of each individual whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year.

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