Business group could double political donations

by Jeremy Alford, LaPolitics

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is expected to achieve “big PAC” status by the end of the year for its four political action committees, which will allow the group to double the amount of money it gives to candidates.

Right now, as “small PACs,” LABI’s NorthPAC, SouthPAC, WestPAC and EastPAC can individually provide candidates with a maximum contribution of $2,500. If all four PACs get behind a single candidate, that politico can capture $10,000.

Moving into the 2015 statewide and legislative cycle, a $5,000 or $20,000 donation must sound tempting to campaigns, and will be a major carrot during the regular session.

The PACs started accepting online donations earlier this fall — through,, and — and the goal is to boost the membership of all four, separately, to 250 donors, with each giving a minimum of $50. That threshold must be achieved for big PAC status.

Brian Landry, LABI’s vice president of political action, said most of the PACs are just a few members away from that threshold, with NorthPAC needing the most, about 10 new $50 members before Dec. 31. But it should have a bow around it by Christmas morning.

“With that said we are not going to stop fundraising for a minute,” said Landry. “Well, we might take off Christmas Day, but otherwise it is full steam ahead for 2015. This is a critical election cycle, and we want to be fully prepared to support highly qualified pro-business candidates.”

That may or may not include the governor’s race. When asked about the top of the ballot, LABI’s decision-makers have said it’s still up in the air.

But those involved with the process over the years contend it would be rare. By most accounts, only three governors have received the backing of the PACs in recent memory: Dave Treen; Mike Foster, who actually turned it down after seeking the group’s support; and Bobby Jindal, back when he had re-election in the bag.

“Our PACs will be vetting all candidates and looking at this race very closely,” said Landry.