AKC Takes Initial Step Toward Formation of Political Action Committee
Requests Advisory Opinion From FEC on Status of Member and Affiliated Clubs
On Friday, August 10, 2007 a request was filed with the General Counsel of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) seeking an opinion on whether the American Kennel Club® and its member and affiliate dog clubs are "membership organizations" as defined under relevant FEC regulations, and whether the AKC® and its member and affiliated clubs are "affiliated" within the meaning of applicable FEC regulations. The request was filed by attorney Timothy W. Jenkins of O'Connor & Hannan LLP of Washington, DC on behalf of the AKC.
"Last week's filing with the FEC is the first and arguably most significant step toward giving the AKC and the dog fancy a crucial tool for positively affecting dog legislation at the federal and state level," said Ron Menaker, AKC's Chairman of the Board. Menaker informed the fancy of the AKC's intentions to form a PAC during the June 2007 Delegate meeting.
The FEC opinion will determine the scope of the universe of individuals that the AKC can legally solicit for contributions to its PAC. In emphasizing the importance of careful and deliberate steps toward formation of a PAC representing purebred dog fanciers, Menaker noted that the AKC has carefully considered this action for nearly a year, stating "many people think that all an organization has to do to form a PAC is to start soliciting money. In fact, the process can be very complicated, particularly given the unusual membership structure of the AKC and its member and affiliated clubs. It is essential that we proceed in a deliberate and legal manner."
AKC President Dennis B. Sprung called the filing of the FEC request a "watershed event in the history of the AKC. We have been very aggressive in advocating for the rights and interests of purebred dog owners and breeders through our Canine Legislation Department, our federal legislative consultant, our state federations of dog clubs, and our individual member and licensed clubs, but without a PAC, the dog fancy has been fighting with one hand tied behind their backs. A PAC will enable us to be infinitely more effective in representing our interests."
Sprung added that he was optimistic that a prompt and favorable response would be forthcoming from the FEC, and that an AKC PAC could be formally launched before the end of the year.