The banking industry has its first super PAC, but it's not what you think. Friends of Traditional Banking may be registered with the Federal Election Commission as a so-called independent expenditure-only PAC, or super PAC, but it doesn't plan to act like one. In fact, it would much rather not be lumped in with all the others.
The group sees itself as an information provider rather than a cash cow for a cause. "It is technically a super PAC, but it's not going to operate like a super PAC," said Chuck Stones, president of the Kansas Bankers Association and a member of the group's advisory council.
Its plan is to solicit non-binding pledges from supporters to back the candidates the group later recommends. The super PAC will research and identify candidates that are both friendly to traditional banking interests and participating in winnable races, and send the pledges their names along with a link so they can contribute directly to those campaigns. "We will not collect your money," the group says on its website. It hopes to influence just a handful of races in a big way through many small donations. ...
Howard Headlee, president of the Utah Bankers Association and the group's treasurer, acknowledges that although it won't handle candidate contributions, the group will have to raise some money for education and outreach to further its cause. Some will come from state trade associations; the rest, from direct contributions. But Matt Packard, the super PAC's chairman and president and CEO of Utah-based Central Bank, says there are no plans to raise money for more traditional super PAC expenditures, such as television ads.
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