- ELECTING PRO-RIDER CANDIDATES AND EXPANDING RIDERS' INFLUENCE
IN WASHINGTON, DC
The Rider's Voice in American Politics
Respect Integrity Excellence Teamwork Leadership
These are more
than pleasant-sounding words. These are the core values that drive
the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. And they're the same values
that drive MRFPAC, the political action committee of the MRF.
Our PAC and
its core values were put to the test in Election 2000. MRFPAC
respected diversity by endorsing pro-rider candidates across the
political spectrum. We honored teamwork by involving SMROs in
the endorsement process and exerted leadership by offering the
motorcycling community a complete slate of candidates in the RIDERS'
MAJORITY, 264 candidates for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives
and the White House.
In excess of
91% of our endorsed candidates won their bids for public office
in 2000. Among the RIDERS' MAJORITY were 20 candidates for the
House and Senate whose leadership on motorcycling issues won them
a special honor: CHAMPION OF MOTORCYCLISTS' RIGHTS AND SAFETY.
Of these 20 champions, 19 were elected.
In 2001, with
your help, we have won more friends so that in 2002, the MRFPAC
RIDERS' MAJORITY will grow in number and clout. And the 2002 elections
will be critical to the MRF and motorcyclists' rights advocates
nationwide due to the Census redistricting.
A Week in
the Life of MRFPAC
From time to
time, the MRF is given golden opportunities to expand your influence
in Washington - special opportunities to educate Congressmen,
Senators, and their aides on our burning issues at the federal
level. These opportunities are NOT tightly-scheduled office visits
when Members of Congress are called away to vote or aides are
distracted by the phone. These opportunities are relaxed social
events where we can talk about our issues at length, and usually
with more than just one Congressman or Senator.
What are these
golden opportunities? Fund-raising events for the campaigns of
Senators and Congressmen. And the only way MRF can get in the
door is by having money in our political action committee - MRFPAC.
Generally, PACs are asked to contribute between $500 and $1000
for each event. That's a high-priced bill for our PAC, no question.
But the results - for your rights and safety - are priceless.
Below are just
a few examples of how MRF uses members' contributions to our PAC.
In fact, these events all occurred in the span of about a week.
- One of the
most powerful Congressmen on Capitol Hill, and one of our staunchest
friends, returns to his home state to hold a fundraising event.
Because of prior commitments, MRF can't fly its lobbyist to
Alaska to talk with Congressman Don Young, Chairman of
the powerful House Transportation Committee. But Boyd McFail
is one of our MRF members who lives in Alaska. MRF cuts a check
and sends it to "Alaskans for Don Young," and Boyd goes to greet
the Congressman, renew friendship, and spend some important,
no-rush time with the Congressman's key transportation aides.
Boyd talks about traffic safety and the EPA issue, and people
listen. Education. Progress.
the September 11 attack on America, several political fundraising
events are rescheduled. MRF gets the word that Congresswoman
Sue Myrick has scheduled a small affair. MRF calls Cindy
Christensen of CBA/ABATE of North Carolina, and ABATE funds
her travel to DC. Tom Wyld accompanies Cindy to have dinner
with the Congresswoman and her aides. They talk about health
care and the EPA. Tom and Cindy also get to meet Congresswoman
Myrick's special guest that evening: Congressman Billy Tauzin
of Louisiana. He chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee and
leads hearings on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA). Education. Progress.
- At another
event, Dave Maxwell of New Jersey enjoys dinner seated right
next to Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. They discuss health
care, and the Congressman is not only eager to listen, but is
also eager to help rescue our health benefits. Education. Progress.
- MRF's Lobbyist,
Tom Wyld, attends a reception for Congressman Jerry Weller
of Illinois and speaks to his aides on the EPA issue and health
care. At the event, Tom also gets to talk to Congressman
Bob Ney of Ohio, Congressman Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky,
Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia, and many others. He
also meets Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn, a champion of
small business, and mentions our small business concerns with
the proposed EPA ruling. The Washington Road Riders Association
follows up with a letter to the Congresswoman. Education. Progress.
You can help
us take advantage of these golden opportunities to educate and
make progress on the issues that matter to you the most. If you
are an MRF member, you should contribute to MRFPAC at least once
a year. Call it an investment in your freedom . . . because that's
what it's all about!
Should Know About Political Giving
citizens have the right to support political candidates of their
choice. As citizens, under certain limits, we can write a check
to the campaign of a candidate for any political office. But
our impact can multiply if we give that money to a political
action committee, or PAC, supported by like-minded citizens.
- MRFPAC exists
to support candidates who share our commitment to motorcyclists'
rights and safety. An association cannot endorse a candidate
for political office; only a PAC can. In the last election cycle,
MRFPAC endorsed hundreds of candidates for the US Senate and
the US House of Representatives. We call our body of endorsed
federal candidates the "MRFPAC RIDERS' MAJORITY." We also single
our exceptional leaders for special praise. We call them "MRFPAC
CHAMPIONS OF MOTORCYCLISTS' RIGHTS & SAFETY."
to a PAC are not tax deductible.
- A PAC can
only solicit donations from within its own membership. Accordingly,
MRFPAC can only ask its members for contributions. In short,
MRF membership matters! If you can't afford to give to MRFPAC,
recruit a new MRF member.
answers to some frequently asked questions about PACs in general
and MRFPAC in particular:
a PAC exist in the first place?
All PACs exist
for the same reason: to advocate the election of political candidates
to elective office. And, like many other PACs, ours is a "single
issue" advocacy. That is, we evaluate candidates based on their
stand on one issue: motorcycling. Our PAC is vigorously bipartisan,
and the MRFPAC RIDERS' MAJORITY is a diverse group of lawmakers
from every spectrum of American politics.
How are endorsement
We work hand in glove with as many MRF Reps, SMRO legislative
contacts and MRF members as possible to discuss candidates, voting
records and their preferences. In developing MRFPAC actions, we
are not only influenced by our members but guided by the candidate's
performance in office. Needless to say, when a lawmaker supports
our position by voting for (or, in the case of governors, signing)
legislation in a way that favors riders' rights and safety, it
is incumbent upon us to support that lawmaker in his or her bid
for reelection. Before its release, the MRFPAC RIDERS' MAJORITY
is reviewed by the MRF Board of Directors. From start to finish,
it is a team effort.
you endorse a candidate, based on the narrow issue of motorcycling,
when his or her elective office encompasses duties involving many
It's in the
best interests of motorcycling to ensure that politicians know
that motorcyclists are an astute, politically-engaged constituency
that should be heeded. Many of the candidates endorsed by MRFPAC
are incumbent Congressmen and Senators who have co-sponsored important
bills MRF advanced; still others have spoken out in crucial committees
to build support for our measures with their colleagues. Others
have voted to support us, on recorded votes, putting their names
and reputations on the line. That's how we won the 1995 repeal
of sanctions against rider-choice states. That's how we won access
to HOV lanes by motorcyclists, etc., etc. Politically, many of
these lawmakers didn't have to support us to win reelection. They
don't have to today. They don't have to next year. If they lost
the support of motorcyclists in their districts, many would still
glide to reelection. They vote with us, because they have opened
their doors to hear the riders' viewpoints. They choose to vote
with us not only because of the strength of our arguments, but
also because they want to be responsive to a vocal and politically-engaged
segment of their constituency. When they put their names on the
line and vote with us, they expect us to put our names on the
line and vote for them and work for their reelection. And our
work in an election effort covers the waterfront of political
advocacy - from campaign contributions and election endorsements
to bumper strips and yard signs.
I often disagree
with the endorsements made by various PACs. How should I view
You should view
our endorsements as recommendations. You should understand that
they are based on as thorough a review as possible of input from
MRF Reps and SMROS, an analysis of voting records where applicable,
and a review of candidate comments on the issues. Our endorsement
in the Election 2000 Presidential race, for example, was based,
in part, on a comprehensive questionnaire that dealt with 8 major
issues facing motorcyclists today. Remember that many informed,
politically-engaged voters belong to a number of organizations
that have associated PACs. It's best to view the various endorsement
recommendations as an essential input to your individual voting
decision. It's up to you to consider the recommendations, weigh
all the issues, make a decision and pull the best lever possible.
It's up to organizations like MRFPAC and hundreds of others to
focus, for the sake of their members, on the organization's issues.
How is the
MRFPAC money used?
To pay for any
and all activities that advocate the election of a political candidate.
Money is needed to develop and mail lists of recommendations,
to buy and distribute yard signs and bumper strips. The lion's
share of MRFPAC's treasury is used to attend fundraising events
for endorsed candidates. Our lobbyist attends most of the fundraising
events (and, when possible, our lobbyist is accompanied by an
MRF member from that state or district). The cost of attending
the event is stipulated by the campaign (usually $500 or $1000).
The real benefit of attending fundraising events is contact. Access
to the lawmaker and his or her staff in a casual setting is an
excellent opportunity to broach difficult issues. Another benefit
of attending fundraising events is to meet and discuss issues
with associates of the lawmaker - other legislators, heads of
agencies of government, and other lobbyists are almost always
in attendance. This gives the MRF a perfect opportunity to broaden
our appeal to many influential people who may help us advance
a shared legislative burden.
MRFPAC get its money?
Only MRF members
can contribute to MRFPAC. However, even if you are a member
and you can't contribute to MRFPAC, do the next best thing:
recruit a new MRF member. The fact is, federal law prohibits
MRFPAC from soliciting PAC contributions outside the membership
of MRF. In short, the larger our membership, the larger
our base of potential contributors. So find a politically
motivated rider. Urge him or her to Ride with the Leaders
and join MRF today.