The Ins and Outs of SuperPACs

by , Feb 2, 2012 | 5:50 am

Dear dan,

Below is our second DC Update for 2012 available exclusively to 2012 PPA members.  Because we’ve received so many questions from members about PokerPAC and how and why it’s important in our fight for the game we love, I’m providing this week’s DC Update with a bit of background on PACs generally, and specifically why PokerPAC is so important.

PPA DC Update | February 1, 2012 | Bryan Spadaro | Poker Players Alliance

While I am not technically a lobbyist for the PPA, I am excited to write this week’s insider piece to our membership.  This week’s piece is about Political Action Committees, or PAC’s, an area in which I have expertise.

As the Republican primary race continues into 2012 you’ve undoubtedly heard a lot about PAC’s and Super PAC’s, and the role they play in deciding the outcome of these primary races.  A bit of history first.  PACs were first created under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. A PAC enables likeminded individuals to voluntarily pool their financial resources in order to contribute to candidates running for federal and state offices.  This allows corporations and associations, who are barred under law from using their own business (corporate) funds, to create a connected entity that can raise and then disperse funds to candidates they want to support.  This is exactly what PokerPAC is, the connected PAC of the Poker Players Alliance.

One of the questions I hear most about PACs is “where does the money go?” Well, as PPA’s PAC director, I can say, contributing it is a lot easier than raising it.  First, it is important to know that every dollar PokerPAC raises is contributed to candidates and campaigns that support the rights of poker players.  No money PokerPAC raises is used for overhead, salaries, compliance, marketing, etc., 100 percent goes toward the fight for our game.  Another way to answer the question is to look back to the 2010 elections, and explain some of the ways we spent PokerPAC resources.  In the 2010 cycle, PokerPAC endorsed 58 candidates.  1) In many cases, we contributed money directly from the PokerPAC to the campaigns of our endorsed candidates.  This is most common and perhaps most effective way we can support a candidate. 2) Also, in every PPA-targeted race we sent an endorsement email to all PPA members living in the district (or state) letting them know why we support the candidate and encouraged the local poker players to support them too.  These “in-kind” emails cost money and a small percentage of PokerPAC resources went to pay for these endorsements.

In a few cases the PokerPAC went “All-In” for candidates. 3) In Nevada and Colorado, two of the closest Senate races of 2010, the PPA supported candidates who were strong supporters of your poker rights and their challengers were opponents of your freedom to play online poker.  Leading up to Election Day we hosted events for the candidates so the poker community in that state could meet them and learn about why they deserved a poker player’s support.  4) PokerPAC also used resources to run online advertising and phone calls letting poker players know to support our candidate.  In both races we won!  And both Senators have acknowledged PokerPAC’s role in helping them win their races.  That is about as good as it gets for a PAC Director like me: to know that the actions we took had a direct, positive, and tangible effect on a very important outcome.

That is why we ask for your support of PokerPAC, and why it is so important to go beyond your $15 annual PPA membership.  I hope you found this piece to be interesting and informative, and as always, if you have any questions, please send them to, and we will be happy to answer them for you.

Thanks again for your 2012 membership.  If you haven’t done so already, please consider becoming even more involved with the PPA by becoming a contributor to PokerPAC, the PPA’s political action arm.

Proud to Play,

Bryan Spadaro

Disclaimer: You can only contribute to our Political Action Committee if you (i) are a United States citizen or landed immigrant (e.g., hold a green card), (ii) are over the age of 18 years, (iii) are a member of the PPA, and (iv) are not a government contractor. You can only make contributions from your personal funds; you may not contribute corporate funds or funds from other prohibited sources. Contributions are not tax deductible. You must also provide where indicated your full name (i.e., first name, middle name or initial and last name), your mailing address, your occupation, and the name of your employer.

You can follow Bryan on Twitter @BSpadaro01. Pokerati has been a longtime supporter of the Poker Players Alliance, and the PPA has been a longtime supporter of Pokerati. FTW.

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