Lisbeth Lyons, the vice president of government affairs for the PIA/GATF.

Shannon Frack, grassroots and political affairs manager for PAC .

While the pair may be relatively short on printing industry experience, their ability to raise both funds and awareness for a given industry’s political ideology and needs are vital to the rebirth of PrintPAC.

“Fundraising is difficult if you don’t have dedicated PAC management. The most effective ones have at least one person, if not two or three people, working on all elements of fundraising, from promotions to invoicing,” Lyons says. “When you don’t have staff dedicated to this function, it falls on your lobbyists, whose first priority should be Capitol Hill. Invariably, the fundraising takes a back seat.”

Just why the level of contributions has tailed off markedly cannot be narrowed down to one or two major factors. Certainly the dotcom bust, 9/11 and a prolonged economic slump played a role on some level. Other PAC support factors on an industry level include a decrease in legislative regulation—obviously, a very good thing for printers who endured the ergonomics regulatory scares of the past. Printers rallied to the ergonomics issue and were motivated to contribute funds to the election efforts of politicians who favored less regulatory pressure from Washington.

“As politics reach more parity, where you have an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, you tend to have a little less engagement,” notes Cooper, who now heads The Print Council. “Not much bad happened on the regulatory front, and there aren’t many exciting races in the U.S. House of Representatives, for example. And the industry has changed. The consolidation wave has taken away a number of family owned businesses; those are the people who have historically been more active.”

The PrintPAC may indeed find itself lacking a rallying cry, a call to arms for printers to unite in the defeat of a common enemy. The greatest issue impacting many printers recently is, of course, the topic of postal reform. That has reached the conference checkpoint, where the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will hash out the differences in their respective bills and send a single version to President Bush for his signature.

Related Content