CUNA Plans $2.5 Million in Independent Campaign Spending

CUNA will produce advertisements and direct mail as part of a $2.5 million independent spending campaign to support eight members of Congress. Learn why.

David Baumann


Oct 6



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David Baumann

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David Baumann

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Credit union advocacy group will produce its own advertisements and direct mail to support eight current members of Congress.

CUNA plans to spend $2.5 million on targeted campaign ads in support of eight incumbent members of Congress.

CUNA operates one of the largest trade group Political Action Committees and so far for the 2022 election cycle has spent $6.5 million, according to association officials. Those contributions include donations made directly to candidate reelection campaigns.

For the eight candidates, CUNA will spend independently by producing its own ads and targeted direct mail.

“CUNA is committed to ensuring that candidates who champion credit unions’ mission to enhance financial well-being for all, whether Democrat or Republican, can count on the credit union movement when it comes to winning close races,” said Trey Hawkins, the group’s deputy chief advocacy officer for political action. “Our ads are designed to educate voters on why these pro-credit union candidates deserve their support.”

Who Is CUNA Supporting?

The eight candidates for whom CUNA is producing ads are:

–Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.

–Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.

–Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.

–Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa

–Rep Annie Kuster, D-N.H.

–Rep Elaine Luria, D-Va.

–Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H.

–Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif.

Notably, Luria is a member of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. CUNA is one of many trade group and corporate PACs that temporarily stopped contributing to members of Congress who voted against certifying the presidential election on Jan. 6. Those PACs were blasted by progressive watchdog groups when they resumed making contributions to those Republicans.

Contributions from Other Groups

Banking trade groups also operate PACs, but so far, they’ve spent less than CUNA has.

As of the end of August—before the updated figures released by CUNA this week—CUNA’s PAC had spent $3.2 million, according to Federal Election Commission records. By comparison, the American Bankers Association (ABA) had spent $2.3 million, and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) had spent just under $1.4 million.

NAFCU operates a much smaller PAC. At the end of August, the association had spent $264,500 on congressional campaigns.

The credit union groups are generally more bipartisan than their banking counterparts. According to Open Secrets, a website operated by the Center for Responsive Politics, CUNA has made 55.5% of its total contributions to Democrats and 44.5% to Republicans, while NAFCU had made 51.8% of its contributions to Republicans and 48.2% to Democrats.

Bankers, on the other hand, favored Republicans by a wide margin. The ABA’s committee had made 72.36% of its total contributions to Republicans and 24.67% to Democrats, while ICBA had spent 61.67% on Republicans and 38.29% on Democrats, according to Open Secrets.

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