By the numbers

The AVMA Political Action Committee
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The AVMA Political Action Committee engages members of Congress on behalf of the veterinary profession. It can only accept contributions from AVMA members, Student AVMA members, and certain AVMA personnel, all of whom must be U.S. citizens. Federal law limits both the amount of money any contributor can provide and the amount the PAC can contribute to any member of Congress. AVMA member volunteers and a SAVMA representative oversee the PAC. Board members are appointed by the AVMA Board of Directors, AVMA House Advisory Committee, and SAVMA.

Amounts disbursed by the AVMA PAC, by party

Each year, the AVMA Political Action Committee raises and spends about $200,000 on congressional campaign contributions. Money spent in the five most recent election cycles, 2009-18, was split 52%-48% between the two major parties, with a slight edge to Republican candidates and committees, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. The party distribution of contributions varies depending on which party is in power in the House and Senate, which affects which members of Congress are assigned to committees of relevance to the veterinary profession. Democrats controlled both chambers in 2009-10; Republicans took the House in 2011, holding it until 2018, and have held the Senate since 2015.

Top recipients of AVMA PAC money, 2009-18

During 2009-18, the PAC spent more supporting representatives than senators, and almost all contributions—about 96%, or $1.8 million—went to incumbents or, in a few cases, House members who ran for new seats because of redistricting. About $84,000 went to challengers and candidates for open seats. The top total during this period went to Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, the longest serving of the three veterinarians currently in Congress. The other veterinarians currently serving in Congress are Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida and Rep. Ralph Abraham of Louisiana. In the 2017-18 cycle, the PAC contributed $10,000 to Dr. Schrader, $10,000 to Dr. Yoho, and $6,500 to Dr. Abraham.

Size of AVMA PAC contributions

Most of the PAC money comes from small contributors. For example, in 2018, the AVMA PAC collected $196,718 from 1,763 eligible contributors, representing increases from the previous year. The average contribution that year was $112. Under FEC rules, contributor information must be reported for aggregate contributions over $200 per year and itemized on the FEC report. Aggregate contributions of less than $200 per year are not itemized on the FEC report.

Where the AVMA PAC spends

From 2009-18, the PAC contributed $2.2 million to incumbents, candidates, and other political entities. The bulk of those contributions—$1.4 million—went to about 300 House members and candidates. At the same time, the PAC contributed $490,000 to 91 senators or Senate candidates.