Public Affairs Council

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Public Affairs Council is a Washington D.C. based organisation for member organisations in the public relations industry.

According to the PAC's website it was launched in 1954 "at the urging of President Dwight D. Eisenhower".


The membership of the PAC consists of over than 600 member corporations, associations and consulting firms according to a profile of PAC in the Washington Business Journal. [1]

The organisation provides a range of training and support services for members employees including publications, conferences and advice.

National Grassroots Conference

One of the fixtures of the PAC calender is the "National Grassroots Conference" which the PAC boasts on its website "provides participants with the latest best practices in grassroots/grass-tops programs, coalition-building and other political involvement activities". The PAC also organises an annual "Grassroots Innovation Awards", "Grassroots Roundtable meetings to share your challenges with colleagues in other organizations", hosts a "Grassroots Discussion Forum, which gives you access to hundreds of other grassroots professionals" and holds a collection of "grassroots publications". [2]

The PAC staff member overseeing its "Grassroots" program is James P. Toner, Jr..

The first annual Grassroots Innovation Awards - sponsored by The Showalter Group - were announced at the PAC's 2000 National Grassroots Conference in Key West, Florida on February 14. The first award went to the North Carolina branch of Citizens for a Sound Economy. "NC CSE revived a good old-fashioned approach to soundly defeat a large tax increase accompanying the June 8, 1999 Wake County school bond referendum. They were outspent 5 to 1, had all the area business and political leaders against them, and were down 45 percent to 55 percent in the polls prior to the campaign. They defeated the tax increase 65 to 35 percent," CSE reported on its website. [3]

The Center for Media and Democracy attended PAC's February 1997 "National Grassroots Conference" and reported on it in CMD's PR Watch publication. In January 2003, the Public Affairs Council conference organisers decided that what was said in the conference was not for public consumption and banned CMD from attending. [4]

2004 Agenda

The agenda for PAC's 2004 "National Grassroots Conference" included:

  • Kelly Nowlan, Government Relations Administrator for Constellation Energy on "the Fundamentals of Corporate and Association Grassroots";
  • Ken Gross, a partner in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom on "offers a primer on the ins and outs of laws and regulations affecting grassroots activities";
  • John Cattelan, the Public Affairs Director for Aetna, Inc and David Christman, the Coordinator, Grassroots and Political Affairs for the National Beer Wholesaler's Association on "GOTV and Election Activities: November is closer than you think. What are you doing to prepare your members for the ultimate civic duty?". ('GOTV' is the common US acronym for 'Get Out the Vote').
  • Patrick Haggerty, the President of the The Haggerty Group on "association grassroots managers have a whole wide world of communication needs";
  • Morry Markowitz, the Senior Director, External Affairs at Edison Electric Institute and David Helbach the Director, Corporate Public Affairs for Alliant Energy Corporation to discuss "the dividend tax: Learn how to bring together all the components of a successful grassroots campaign by studying the lifecycle of the recent federal campaign on the dividend tax," the conference program states;
  • Mark Story, a Senior Associate with APCO Worldwide on "Best Practices for On-line Advocacy"; and
  • Sheree Anne Kelly and James P. Toner, Jr. from the Political Involvement Programs section of the Public Affairs Council on "PAC/Grassroots Synergy: Discover how these two programs can work hand-in-hand and advance your political agenda. See how an integrated effort can make a difference in membership, education and effectiveness".

2007 Agenda

The online agenda for PAC's "30th Anniversary National Grassroots Conference," to be held in St. Petersburg, Florida, on January 23-26, 2007, includes: [5]

  • "Building and Managing Coalitions"
  • "Fly-Ins that Work"
  • "Net Neutrality Case Study"
  • "New Forums for Communication: Blogging & Social Networking Sites"
  • "How to Communicate 'On the Record'"
  • "Working with Contract Lobbyists"

Case Studies

Contact Information

Public Affairs Council
2033 K Street, NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20006
Phone 202.872.1790
Fax: 202.835.8343

SourceWatch Resources

External links

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