Anti-Credit Union Super PAC Urging Bankers to Support Three Candidates

A Super PAC that says credit unions harm communities and create an uneven playing field has endorsed candidates for the November elections. Learn more.

David Baumann


Sep 19



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David Baumann

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David Baumann

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Group says credit unions harm communities by avoiding taxes, create uneven playing field for financial institutions.

An anti-credit union Super Political Action Committee is urging bankers to financially support one House Republican, one GOP Senate candidate and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in the upcoming mid-term elections.

Friends of Traditional Banking (FOTB) bills itself as the “inverse” of a traditional PAC, which contributes directly to political candidates. Instead, FOTB endorses a few candidates each election cycle and urges bankers across the country to financially support them.

In addition to Johnson, the group is supporting Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., in his effort to gain the Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. And in Iowa, the group is asking bankers to support Republican Rep. Randy Feenstra in his reelection effort.

Background on the Issue

FOTB is an outspoken critic of credit unions.

“Friends of Traditional Banking has long opposed fake credit unions, which are surging well beyond the role of traditional credit unions and harming communities by avoiding taxes,” the group states on its website. “These financial institutions create an uneven playing field for traditional banks and real community credit unions.”

Congress, the group says, is “ignoring the cries of our industry.”

And it makes its goal clear. “They apparently won’t do something about it until we get more friends elected,” they said. “Getting more friends of traditional banking elected to Congress is why we exist, and why we appreciate your support!”

The Candidates Endorsed by FOTB

Ted Budd

Budd has supported traditional banking as a member of the House Financial Services Committee, FOTB said, adding, “We hope that everyone who believes in the critical role traditional banking plays in our country, will send a donation, of any size to help Ted become the next Senator from North Carolina.” 

Budd’s Democratic opponent, Cheri Lynn Beasley, is the former chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

FOTB identified Johnson as one of the best senators for banking who is not on the Senate Banking Committee.

Perhaps more importantly, Johnson’s opponent in this closely watched tight race is Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor, Mandela Barnes.

The banking super PAC identified Barnes as an ally of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. The group said that Warren, who often is identified as a pro-consumer, anti-business lawmaker, has traveled to Wisconsin to campaign for Barnes.

Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa

“Representative Feenstra has been an outspoken supporter of taxing the largest, bank-like credit unions and now they are coming after him,” FOTB said. “We simply MUST send a loud message of support ASAP!”

As a state lawmaker, FOTB noted, Feenstra led an effort to tax credit unions.

A House freshman, the group says that he is likely to become a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee if he is reelected.

“Although latest polling shows that his district is solidly conservative, Feenstra is being bashed by credit unions who remember what he did to them at the state level and are petrified of what he may do if he stays in Congress,” they added.

Feenstra’s Democratic opponent is Ryan Melton, who has worked for Nationwide Insurance since 2008.

PACs Supporting Credit Unions

Credit unions do not have a Super PAC, but CUNA operates one of the largest regular PACs.

For the current election cycle, CUNA’s PAC had contributed almost $2.945 million to candidates as of Aug. 15.

NAFCU operates a much smaller PAC; by Aug. 15, it had contributed $264,500.

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