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Gauging Interest in a EV Advocacy PAC for Washington State

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by Six, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. Six

    Six Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    I am gauging interest in establishing an Electric Vehicle Advocacy PAC in the state of Washington. The PAC would:

    - Support key upcoming EV issues that need focus. Just one example, continuing the EV sales tax break beyond June 15, 2015.
    - Be completely transparent with all spends documented with the state and explained to supporters
    - Be strictly non-partisan, the goal is not to fight general politics but to promote the EV cause
    - Be expensive, I believe we would need at least $50,000 in funds to make the kind of impact I would like. But that is 100 people willing to donate $500. This is a hard challenge but I hope not an impossible one
    - I briefly considered a SuperPAC (with less regulation) since the EV PAC should be issue based not political, but I believe direct campaign contributions are essential
    - The vast majority of time, the goal of the PAC should be to get along with all of the legislators (i.e. support incumbents) but occasionally have the funds to play hard ball and work to remove an incumbent who is a true road block to the EV cause

    At this point I am just trying to find out if there are 20-30 people who are interested in contributing roughly $500 each to establish a PAC. The PAC would be a non-partisan effort to make certain that, Washington, the state with the highest per capita EV usage stays EV friendly.

    I think existing EV advocacy groups like Plug In America are doing a great job in general education (National Plug in Day) and informing our legislatures of the wisdom of EV friendly laws.

    But the recent overwhelming votes in Olympia to pass the dealer protection act (93-3 and 47-0) convinced me of the power of money and a strong lobby. I would like a PAC to provide money to back up the enthusiasm of EV owners (great turn out of Tesla owners in Olympia on short notice) and existing advocacy groups.

    I you believe you might be willing to fund a Washington Electric Vehicle Advocacy PAC please PM me or email [email protected]

    There is obviously no commitment at this point I am just trying to find out if there is enough interest to proceed.


    I thought I would use data about the Washington State Dealers Automobile Dealers Association (WSADA) to give perspective on the numbers and what an EV Advocacy PAC could achieve. I do not think of an EV PAC as fighting the WSADA, I am using them as an example of how to get influence.

    In 2012 they contributed $174,300 to WA campaigns (in 2010 $133,850) - non-election years are not expensive of course.

    They were mostly non-partisan 47% to Democrats 52% to Republicans. They donated to almost every campaign. 137 separate candidates got donations. The contributed mostly to incumbents and mostly to winners (111 incumbents and 2 challengers, and both of those were state wide - they contributed to both gubernatorial candidates) (121 winners and 10 losers).

    The average donation was roughly $1000 per candidate and only few at $1800 or more.

    I am hoping because the EV issue is pro-consumer and non-political we can make do with less funds and still get an impact but I believe that tens of thousands will be needed to make a real impact.
  2. Six

    Six Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    I wanted to post an update to this thread, to let people know the progress on establishing the Washington Electric Vehicle Advocacy PAC.

    I have had a modest amount of support with just the initial posts, but enough to be encouraging. Thanks to all those who sent notes of support.

    The situation in New Jersey and other states is just more confirmation for me that we need to at least try to fight back. For example, even though the press talks about Ohio as a success for Tesla, it limits Tesla to only one more store and freezes all other possible car start ups out of the direct model.

    There are four major steps that need to be finished before the PAC is ready to start accepting contributions:

    - Registration with the state of WA as a lobbying organization
    - Registration with the IRS as a political organization
    - Creation of bank account and ability to accept contributions
    - Creating a web site that documents the PAC, charter and by-laws of the PAC

    The first two steps are complete, the WEVA PAC is officially registered with the state and IRS. The web site domain is registered and I am building a (very) basic web site. I will be establishing banking services soon.

    I would expect that in the next week to ten days the PAC will be officially accepting contributions and starting its first lobbying activities.

    At that time I will be posting official announcements on EV sites and news groups. In addition to donations I will be looking for volunteers to help with fund raising, building the web site, lobbying, etc.

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