President’s Letter – August 16, 2011:  “Turning Up the Volume” of the Toy Industry’s Legislative Voice

August 16, 2011 |  This week we celebrate the successful conclusion of a three-year effort to fix the unintended consequences to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  Yet this significant legislative accomplishment only serves as a vivid reminder that the challenges of other harmful legislation – including hundreds of state bills that could have resulted in a crazy quilt of inconsistent, onerous and unnecessary regulations for the toy industry – continue at an unparalleled pace. 

To avoid this onslaught of unwarranted and damaging regulations, the toy industry needs every available tool in its advocacy arsenal.  At the top of our priority list is strengthened relationships with the legislators in Washington, DC and in state capitals across the nation whose decisions are affecting our industry. 

A robust Political Action Committee (PAC) opens the doors that allow an industry’s voice to be heard in the legislative corridors of Washington, DC and state houses across the nation.  A strong PAC is one of the most important components of an effective industry advocacy program.

Last year, TIA created the toy industry’s first-ever PAC (“TOYPAC”) to consolidate and direct financial support from individuals in our community to key policymakers. TOYPAC financially assists candidates who demonstrate a realistic approach to solving the problems faced by the industry and its member companies.  A contribution from TOYPAC speaks for our industry and gives more “bang for the buck” than individual donations as they deliver a clear message of who the toy industry is as a group and what perspectives we need candidates to hear.  Elected officials seldom overlook a large, well-informed constituency.
TOYPAC’s launch was modest with initial funding provided primarily through the personal contributions of TIA’s Board of Directors and senior staff … but TOYPAC’s existence has already helped to amplify our industry’s legislative voice and raise our level of awareness among key contacts. 

In preparation for the 2012 election year, an industry–wide effort to increase funding for TOYPAC is now underway.

As a member of the toy industry, I urge you to do your part.  There is strength in numbers and the more people from our membership that get involved the greater our impact.  However, only voluntary, individual personal contributions to the PAC are allowed, and such contributions are not tax deductible.   Contributions from your business funds cannot be accepted by TOYPAC and TIA funds cannot be used for contributions. 

I encourage you to show your commitment to our efforts. Take the first step by downloading and signing the “Prior Approval" form and returning it to TIA’s Peter Sandel (646.454.5580).*

Questions, comments, or requests for details about TOYPAC’s past or future activities, can be directed to me (646.520.4841) or TIA’s EVP for External Affairs, Ed Desmond (202.344.4387).  Additional information is also available on the TOYPAC and TOYPAC FAQ pages of the TIA website. 

Help TIA effectively advocate for your interests. Join TOYPAC.  Make a difference. 

Warm regards to all,

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Carter Keithley
ckeithley@toyassociation.org

*If submitting a hard copy  of the completed prior approval form, please mail to: Attn: Peter Sandel at the Toy Industry Association,1115 Broadway Suite 400, New York, NY 10010.