AED WEF And AED PAC - Washington Insider
Construction Equipment Distribution magazine is published by the Associated Equipment Distributors, a nonprofit trade association founded in 1919, whose membership is primarily comprised of the leading equipment dealerships and rental companies in the U.S. and Canada. AED membership also includes equipment manufacturers and industry-service firms. CED magazine has been published continuously since 1920. Associated Equipment Distributors
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Article Date: 03-01-2007
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

What the heck's the difference?

AED's Government Affairs Program includes two special accounts that are critical to our work on behalf of equipment distributors in the nation's capital: the AED Washington Education Fund (WEF) and the AED Political Action Committee (PAC). Although support for both grows each year, even some AED members who regularly contribute to these two funds don't fully understand the difference. We thought we'd try to clear up some of the confusion.

The first major difference between AED PAC and AED WEF is how we use the money.

Think of AED WEF as the special projects account for AED's Government Affairs Program. Those of you with long memories may remember AED WEF used to be the Political Education Fund; we changed the name to AED WEF to eliminate some of the confusion with AED PAC.

A breakdown of how AED WEF money was spent in 2006 will give you a sense of how varied the uses are. In 2006, we used AED WEF money to:

  • Pay travel expenses to send AED Washington staff to five local distributor group meetings
  • Retain a tax lawyer to give extra muscle to our successful fights against LIFO repeal and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposal to eliminate depreciation for rental equipment
  • Organize a construction industry briefing breakfast with members of the House Blue Dog Democrat Coalition
  • Support the Business Industry Political Action Committee, an organization that helps elect pro-business candidates to Congress
  • Work with the National Utility Contractors Association to build public awareness about under-investment in water infrastructure
  • Hire an expert to help prepare AED's Tier IV Diesel Handbook
  • Subscribe to publications that keep AED's Washington staff informed about what's happening on the Hill
  • Subscribe to research tools to help us stay on top of dealer-manufacturer law developments
  • Pay for our grassroots legislative fax alert system
By contrast, AED PAC money is used for only one purpose: to help elect congressional candidates who share AED's legislative goals and commitment to limited government, the free market, and entrepreneurship.

In the past election cycle (2005-2006), AED PAC contributed more than $100,000 to House and Senate campaigns. A large portion of AED PAC money is given through ImPACt local group fundraisers where dealers match AED PAC contributions to candidates with individual contributions.

The other major difference between AED WEF and AED PAC is where the money comes from. Federal law prohibits corporations from making contributions to PACs or candidates. Thus, AED PAC is funded entirely by personal contributions from individuals: generally owners and management employees of AED member companies.

By law, we have to obtain written permission from an AED member company before its owners and employees are solicited. AED PAC has four contribution levels. Distributors who contribute $1,000 or more in a year are recognized as members of the AED PAC Capitol Club and receive lapel pins to identify them as Government Affairs Program leaders at industry meetings.

By contrast, AED WEF receives all of its support from AED member companies, including manufacturers, and there are no restrictions on who we can ask for contributions. As AED's work on the legislative and regulatory fronts has become more visible, support for AED WEF has increased dramatically. The annual AED WEF budget has doubled from around $23,000 to more than $47,000 in just a few years.

The final difference between AED PAC and AED WEF is when we hit you up for money. AED WEF fundraising takes place from early December through mid-February in conjunction with the Annual Meeting, while our fundraising for AED PAC takes place in the spring and early summer.

AED WEF and AED PAC are very different, but both are central to achieving the two overriding goals of AED's Government Affairs Program: protecting and expanding markets for your company's products and services, and reducing your costs of doing business.

As the 110th Congress takes shape, the Democrats assume control of the House and Senate, and new threats to our industry emerge, these two special funds will only become more important to what we do.

To learn more about AED WEF, AED PAC, or getting more involved in AED's work in Washington, drop us a line at


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Article Categories:  Public Policy