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Protecting Your Rights In Our Nation's Capital!

MRFPAC - ELECTING PRO-RIDER CANDIDATES AND EXPANDING RIDERS' INFLUENCE IN WASHINGTON, DC


MRFPAC: 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.

  • Following 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!

What You Should Know About Political Giving

  • American 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."

  • Contributions 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.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about PACs in general and MRFPAC in particular:

Why does 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 decisions made?

In consultation. 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.

Why should you endorse a candidate, based on the narrow issue of motorcycling, when his or her elective office encompasses duties involving many broad issues?

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 MRFPAC endorsements?

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.

Where does 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.

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