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Capitol Eyes 9.10.21: Credit Union Advocacy Refresh Part 2

Cap Eyes 4.30.20
Sep 10, 2021
By Tom Harrington
  • Advocacy

Credit Union Advocacy Refresh: Part Two

This edition of Capitol Eyes continues with part two of the three-part series to refresh Activists' advocacy IQ. The last edition covered the critical importance of credit union advocacy. Watch out for ‘Credit union advocacy today: Priorities, best practices, and resources’ in two weeks.

Credit Union Advocacy Landscape

Key policymakers, committees, and regulators at the federal and state level

Credit unions today benefit from strong support from policymakers of both parties--remarkably strong bipartisan support. That's the result of decades of work by Credit Union Actvists to strengthen understanding and appreciation for The Credit Union Difference and develop working relationships with policymakers. 

Policymakers and their relationship with credit unions becomes all the more critical dependent on key committee assignments or leadership positions.  

While Activists continue to work for the support of all Wisconsin's lawmakers and regulators - take a look below for the individuals and Committees that are of particular importance to The Movement. 

Federal Committees & Key Members of Congress 

Senate Leadership  |  Wisconsin Senators  |  Wisconsin Members of the House  |
Map of Congressional Districts

Senate Committees 
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee 
Chairman: Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
Committee members >>
Handles policy related to banking, financial institutions, and international economic policy. Most bills impacting credit unions will be considered and voted on by this Senate committee.

Senate Finance Committee
Chairman: Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)
Committee members >>
Focuses on taxation and revenue measures - including proposals related to credit unions' federal income tax exemption. 

House Committees 
House Financial Services Committee
Chairwoman: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California)
Committee members >>
Oversees the financial services sector. Most bills that are relevant to credit unions are assigned to this committee.

Note: Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) is Wisconsin's sole member on the committee. While he represents just the 1st Congressional District, his votes and opinions impact credit unions nationwide. Wisconsin's positive relationship with Rep. Steil benefits the entire Movement, by garnering his support for credit unions priorities in the Committee.

House Ways and Means Committee 
Chairman: Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts)
Committee Members >> 
Has jurisdiction over taxation, tariffs, and other revenue-raising measures, making it one of the largest committees in terms of impact on public policy.  Importantly, credit unions' tax exemption would be considered by - and has been frequently reaffirmed by this Committee. 

Note: Wisconsin is fortunate to have two Representatives that serve on Ways and Means, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-LaCrosse).  

Noteably, both are outspoken and unwavering supporters of the credit union federal income tax exemption. 

State Committees & Key Legislators

Senate Leadership  |  State  Senators  |  Assembly Leadership  |  Assembly Reps

Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Revenue
Chairman: Senator Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield)
In Madison, most bills impacting credit unions make their way to this Senate Committee - including the credit union state statute update, AB 478 / SB 451

Chairman, Sen. Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) has been a credit union champion throughout his time in office, even authoring credit union specific bills in past sessions.

Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions
Chairwoman: Representative Cindi Duchow (R-Town of Delafield)
In the State Assembly, most bills impacting credit unions are directed to this Committee, including AB 478 / SB 451, the credit union state statute update. 

As Chair, Rep. Duchow has significant influence over the bills that receive hearings and votes in her Committee.  Strengthening relationships and understanding of credit unions in her district is strategically important right now. 

Regulators, both in D.C. and in Wisconsin have significant influence over credit unions ability to serve members through guidance and rule making, and application or examination of law.  Productive advocacy with regulators can help to prevent or repeal of unecessary burden or unintended consequences.  

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
The NCUA is an independent federal agency that insures deposits at federally insured credit unions (all Wisconsin credit unions) and charters and regulates federal credit unions.  All Wisconsin credit unions are federally insured and three Wisconsin credit unions are federally  chartered. 

The NCUA is led by a three-member Board of Directors, in charge of setting policy, approving budgets and adopting rules and regulations. 

NCUA Chairman Todd Harper >>
NCUA Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman >>
NCUA Member Rodney Hood >>

Wisconsin Office of Credit Unions (OCU)
Director: Kim Santos
The OCU is credit unions' independent reglator, attached to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for administrative purposes.  The Director is appointed by the Governor - and current director, Kim Santos, has been appointed under both a Republican and Democratic Governor.  The Office regulates credit unions chartered at the state level - which represents 97% of Wisconsin's credit unions.  

The Big Picture & The Bottom Line 

You likely noticed these lists weren't comprehensive - we didn't cover every Committee or agency that impact credit unions.  Nor did we go into the 'politics' or partisan break down of Congress and the State Legislature.  While the orgin agencies, committee assignments or political dynamics certainly can impact the path or progress of a proposal ... it's the people making the decisions that matter. 

Activists ability to share stories that resonate, to illustrate value to constituents, to persuade policymakers that the credit union perspective is worthy, is the path to success.

So, take a moment to look at these key leaders and Committee members and consider if you can offer them support, or reach out to invite them into your credit union to build relationships that benefit the Movement as a whole. 

Curious about your personal legislators? Go the the Grassroots Action Center on The League's website and enter you email on the righthand side to identify your legislators! 

Activists Support WCULAF Through Fall Fundraisers

This week, Activists participated virtual fundraisers to support WCULAF, Wisconsin credit unions' state level political action committee (PAC).

On Tuesday, Activists joined the owners of Parallel 44, a Wisconsin owned winery, for a virtual for a wine tasting.

The group enjoyed a selection of four specialty wines and learned about the history of Parallel 44 and their vision for the future of Wisconsin wines. Some enhanced the tasting with a charcuterie board addition provided by Fromagination in Madison. 

 On Wednesday and Thursday, The League hosted two office yoga sessions--where, instead of a mat--the session focused on using an office chair.  

Activists raised nearly $7,000 for WCULAF through these fundraisers.  Every dollar helps to put Wisconsin credit unions in a better position to support strategic state level candidates for office.

Missed out on the fundraisers but would still like to contribute? Go to the Grassroots Action Center on The League's website, enter your email, select the Fundraising tab on the lefthand side, and scroll to the bottom to make a credit card donation to WCULAF.

Tell Congress to Oppose New IRS Reporting Provisions

CUNA and The League issued action alerts calling on Activists to voice opposition to a proposal requiring significant additional reporting to the IRS.

Of note, the House Ways and Means Committee is likely to consider the proposal within the next week. Wisconsin has two members serving on the Committee, so grassroots contacts to Rep. Ron Kind (D-LaCrosse) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) are especially helpful at this time.

Take Action! Contact Your Member of Congress >>
Issue Summary >>

Register for Virtual Hike the Hill 2021 | September 28-29

Hike the Hill is going virtual again! Register to join in meetings with members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation as well as with members of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board.

Meetings will take place over Zoom.

View meeting schedule and registration >>

About The Author

Tom Harrington is the Political & Grassroots Specialist for The Wisconsin Credit Union League.