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September 06, 2004

So many rules, so little time

Miraculously, I managed to get through the PAC and lobbying section of the Association Law Handbook tonight. Mercifully, the section ended at page 228, which puts me at just over half-way done with the text (there are about 40 pages of appendices and an index at the end). Yes, I'm counting pages carefully. Note the position of my bookmark:

This is not to say that I'm not learning anything, it's just that the level of detail here is probably too much for the typical association executive. Even the CAE Commission doesn't put much emphasis on PACs and lobbying. In fact, you won't find the words PAC, political or lobby in the current CAE exam content outline. However, the new content outline, recently revised and publicized for the exam to be offered in May 2005, does allocate 7-9% of the test to "Public Policy" topics including PACs and lobbying.

Probably the most burdensome things I read about in these chapters are the regulations applied to trade associations in soliciting contributions from the employees of corporations to trade association PACs. Written prior approval from a corporate officer must be received by the trade association's PAC before the PAC can solicit contributions from employees of that corporation. Additionally, there are myriad cascading regulations that stem from this one. I suppose this helps in keeping corporations from directly contributing to PACs (which is illegal) but the burden to trade associations seems onerous to me.

So, I'm 50% done with the second book I wanted to finish during my vacation, and my vacation technically has not yet begun (today is Labor Day). I return to work a week from tomorrow, so things look good for finishing on time, or even ahead of schedule.

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