AVMA PAC packs a punch in D.C.

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Schaumburg, Ill. - The AVMA Political Action Committee broke records for the 2007-2008 campaign cycle - generating $580,000 to donate to 145 campaigns.

Schaumburg, Ill.— The AVMA Political Action Committee (PAC) broke records for the 2007-2008 campaign cycle, generating $580,000 to donate to 145 campaigns.

Photo: Tetra Images/Getty Images

Contributions are a means to get face time with politicians to discuss issues relevant to veterinary medicine.

In the past, those issues have included the Veterinary Public Health Expansion Act, the Equine Slaughter Prevention Act and small-business issues such as insurance.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) PAC approaches Congress in five main areas: appropriations, animal welfare, small business, research and public health, typically donating to ranking committee members and chairpersons in the House and Senate.

The record-breaking donations can be attributed to AVMA leaders promoting the PAC, as well as a general interest in the topics before Congress, says Dr. Vern Otte, chairman of the PAC Policy Board.

The presidential-election activities don't explain the increase, Otte says. The PAC doesn't contribute to presidential campaigns.

"Every two years is an election year. This was a presidential election year, so there was a little more excitement, but four years ago there was a lot of excitement as well, and we didn't raise nearly as much."

To make a noticeable impact on veterinary health, Otte says even more is needed.

"We're hoping in the next two years to have a $1 million PAC," he says. "I'm afraid with the economy that might not happen. But that's our goal, and we're more than halfway there.

"In order to do that, we need money," Otte continues.

"If every member gave $10 to $15, we would be a million-dollar PAC, and we would be able to do things we are not able to do today." Right now, 4 percent of AVMA members provide all of the legislative impact for the other 96 percent, Otte says.

The AVMA PAC offers several ways for veterinarians to contribute.

For more informations, visit www.avma.org.

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