NSPE-PAC, the nonpartisan political action committee of NSPE, is the only PAC aimed solely at representing the interests of professional engineers. It helps elect candidates for federal office who are responsive to the engineering profession's goals and objectives. It is critically important that all NSPE members be active participants in the political process, through either NSPE-PAC or related NSPE legislative programs.
The goal of NSPE-PAC is to ensure that the interests of engineering professionals are represented on Capitol Hill. Its specific objectives are to:
- Identify and contribute to incumbent and challenger candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who support positions of importance to engineering professionals.
- Provide visibility, public relations, and credibility to the NSPE legislative and regulatory programs through a large and vigorous fundraising program.
Each year, NSPE-PAC solicits funds from NSPE members. NSPE members can be an important part of NSPE-PAC by participating on any of four levels:
- NSPE-PAC Supporter: $25 to $99 per year.
- NSPE-PAC Century Club: Annual donation of $100 to $249.
- NSPE-PAC Chairman's Club: Annual donation of $250 to $499.
- NSPE-PAC President's Club: Annual donation of $500 and up.
To continuously qualify for one of these levels, NSPE members must give the respective amount each year.
NSPE-PAC was established in 1978 as a voluntary separate segregated fund. Its purpose is to provide professional engineers with an avenue for offering financial and grassroots support to congressional candidates. NSPE-PAC reports monthly to the Federal Election Commission, in addition to following contribution regulations set forth by the FEC. Further, NSPE-PAC is governed by a Board of Trustees composed of NSPE members.
The NSPE-PAC Board of Trustees consists of eleven members, eight of whom must be professional engineer members of NSPE. Six of the eleven Trustees are elected under the provisions of Article XIII of the NSPE-PAC Bylaws. The term of office of an elected Trustee is two years, and they each represent a different geographic region. Two other NSPE-PAC Trustees serve in an ex-officio capacity. One ex-officio Trustee is the NSPE President-Elect. The other is the Chairman of the Legislative and Government Affairs Committee.
The NSPE-PAC Board of Trustees also includes a SSEC Member, Auxiliary Representative, and YEAC Representative.
NSPE State Societies play an integral role in the PAC contribution process. Each year, NSPE-PAC requests state society incoming presidents to designate a state liaison to NSPE-PAC. The designated liaison is responsible for coordinating activities between their society and NSPE-PAC. The liaison is also responsible for providing names of federal candidates for potential NSPE-PAC support.
Candidate recommendations received directly by NSPE-PAC are reviewed by the state liaison. The Trustees, who make the final decisions on NSPE-PAC contributions, weigh the input from a state society before approving candidate contributions. NSPE-PAC actively seeks opportunities to have a state society representative personally deliver campaign contributions to candidates whenever possible.
The NSPE Legislative Education Fund was created to solicit contributions to support the administration of NSPE-PAC, and for other legislative education efforts. The LEF concept originated in NSPE-PAC as a mechanism to allow receipt of corporate and individual funds primarily to support eligible PAC expenses. While the PAC is prohibited from accepting corporate contributions, it is acceptable for NSPE-LEF to receive them. Therefore, all corporate contributions are deposited into the NSPE-LEF account, in compliance with federal regulations. These corporate funds cannot be used for federal candidate contributions.
NSPE-PAC fulfills its mission by identifying and supporting incumbent and challenger candidates for federal office. These candidates must demonstrate their support for the positions of vital importance to the engineering profession. Contributions supporting the two-party political system are a guiding principle of NSPE-PAC, with the maximum percentage of contributions to any one party limited to 70%. NSPE-PAC does not make contributions to presidential campaigns.