The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is not a political action committee. AIPAC is a registered lobbying organization that works with elected officials. Unlike political action committees, AIPAC cannot contribute to campaigns nor rate or endorse candidates. So, while AIPAC is critically important in fostering strong US support for Israel, NORPAC—which helps get supportive candidates (re)elected in the first place—has a separate and distinct role.
The answer is one word: leverage. While it is true that every dollar one gives directly to any pro-Israel organization or institution is important, no organizational fundraising effort can match the resources and generosity of the US government (organizational fundraising can be measured in hundreds of millions of dollars; US aid is measured in billions). Fundamentally, in addition to educating Members of Congress on the issues, we also work to elect and re-elect Members of Congress who support a strong US-Israel relationship in the first place. That’s leverage.
Most candidates focus their campaigns on “domestic” issues and have little or no direct experience with Middle East issues. In contrast to corporate or labor PACs, NORPAC is not motivated by profit or financial gain. By focusing on the single issue of Israel – its security, economic well-being, and importance to the US – we can utilize our time and resources in the most effective way possible.
When you just send to a candidate without attaching the NORPAC name, your donation may become “lost money” to the pro-Israel cause. By donating through NORPAC, you will get credit for the donation and the candidate will know one of the overriding reasons you donated is because you believe in supporting the US-Israel relationship. If you are inclined to send a donation to candidates who solicit you directly, please contact NORPAC so you can either send your donation through us or we can give you a letter to send along with your donation ensuring your money is not lost in the shuffle.
NORPAC is a nearly all-volunteer operation, and its officers work tirelessly to ensure each dollar goes a long way. The vast majority of money NORPAC raises is sent directly to candidates supporting the US-Israel relationship. While it would be impossible to host fundraising events for every deserving candidate, your membership donation enables NORPAC to donate to multiple pro-Israel candidates who are not supported through formal events. Your donation also allows NORPAC to educate Members of Congress, mobilize activists through Action Alerts, facilitate our Key Contact program, hold student programming and more.
In the 1970’s, in an effort to reform political campaign fundraising, Congress authorized the establishment of political action committees, or PACs. Today, over 4,000 PACs (for nearly every cause) raise money and educate Congress in the hopes of affecting public policy. Operating under strict campaign finance regulations, PACs are legitimate media through which individual citizens can direct their contributions to support federal candidates who represent their views on issues of concern to them.