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Newsletter > January 2010 > "FSPAC HELPS GREEKS IN WASHINGTON"
FSPAC HELPS GREEKS IN WASHINGTON
Tim Burke, Manley Burke, email@example.com
The effort to convince the United States Congress to adopt the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA) continues with strong support from the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee (FSPAC). That bill, if adopted by Congress and signed by the President, would make donations for Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure, including fraternity houses, tax deductible. The adoption of the bill would make it substantially more attractive for supporters of fraternities and sororities to donate for the construction or reconstruction of fraternity houses. In essence, a supporter who made a donation for that purpose to a local fraternity or sorority house corporation would receive the same benefit of a tax deductible contribution that now could be received if from a donation to a college or a university for the construction of a dormitory. Both donations would now be tax deductible.
The FSPAC was formed in 2005 with the purpose of assisting fraternity and sorority members and supporters who seek political office. The FSPAC provides financial aid to candidates of both major political parties for federal office, including the House of Representatives, the Senate and President, who support the objectives of fraternity life. In its December 2009 newsletter, the FSPAC reported having raised, as of November 2009, over $800,000. According to the FSPAC, it is the largest political action committee focused solely on higher education issues.
According to information on its webpage, located at www.fratpac.org, the FSPAC has “made contributions to a bipartisan slate of more than 100 candidates in our first four years of operations and more than 90% of those candidates have won their elections. We are especially proud that in 2006 we helped support the election of three sorority women in their first runs for the House of Representative and the Senate.”
The FSPAC considers many specific policy issues to evaluate candidates to support, including the following:
- Support of changes to the federal tax code such as contained in the CHIA.
- Support of freedom of association rights for students to continue to join fraternities and sororities.
- Support of efforts to improve student housing and safety on campuses.
- Support of anti-hazing initiatives.
- Support of initiatives to improve student financial aid option.
Larry Wiese from the Kappa Alpha Order, President of the FSPAC, wrote in the December newsletter that there are currently 173 House sponsors and 24 Senate sponsors of CHIA and expressed optimism that as the Health Care Reform issue is resolved, Congress will turn its attention to comprehensive tax reform issues. He adds that CHIA is “well positioned to be added to major tax legislation” in 2010.
The FSPAC continued to build momentum during 2009 with fund-raising events held in Atlanta and Dallas and a third event held over the summer for interns working on Capitol Hill. All told, the FSPAC reports having almost 700 contributors in 2009 from more than 50 Greek organizations.
The FSPAC’s recent newsletter quotes Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD-Sigma Chi), the House Majority Leader, underscoring the value of the fraternal experience, saying, “Fraternities and sororities teach us about leadership, the value of the community and the hard work it takes to keep a community strong. That is one of the reasons why the efforts of the Fraternity and Sorority FSPAC – an organization dedicated to making sure that the values of Greek life have a lasting impact – are so important.”
The FSPAC is now focused on preparations for its Annual Dinner, which will be held in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2010. Tickets are $500 per person. More information can be obtained from Kevin O’Neill, AXA, the Executive Director of the FSPAC. He can be reached at (757) 207-6002.