TECODo you remember watching the old Schoolhouse Rock song about how a bill becomes a law? Catchy and informative, it helped young kids get a grasp on how politics work. Even if that was before your time, you should look it up on YouTube for a 2-minute crash course in American civics—it will make you wish everything could be explained with a fun cartoon song.

As we sit on the cusp of a big election year, we ought to prepare ourselves for the influx of political terms that are about to flood our newsfeeds and our news stations. But let’s break it down to something relevant to us and our industry: Do you know exactly how Political Action Committees (PACs) work? Let’s take a look at a PAC advocating for the rural telecommunications industry and find out a little more about what they do.

If you’ve ever attended an NTCA conference, you’ve probably seen a TECO event on your schedule. In simple terms, TECO (Telecommunications Education Committee Organization) is a PAC that raises money from folks like you and me and distributes those funds to candidates running for office at the federal level. TECO focuses on distributing money to candidates who will advocate for the rural telecommunications industry. Someone with an interest in rural telecommunications might donate money to TECO instead of directly to a candidate, confident that TECO will back the candidate with the most promise for the industry. As we’ve mentioned, donors to TECO include anyone who identifies themselves as a stakeholder in rural telecommunications. Donating to TECO is a great option for those who want to further the cause but don’t necessarily have time to research the individual candidates. Basically, TECO does the research so you don’t have to.

Formed in 1969, the TECO PAC primarily focuses on Congressional candidates. As is usually the case when it comes to politics, there are several rules surrounding financial contribution. For example, anyone can donate to TECO, and you can solicit your peers at any time, but all contributions must be voluntary. Also, no distributions of funds may be made on government property. Contributions for Presidential candidates or candidates for state office are prohibited. So many rules — it makes you kind of glad you didn’t choose a career in politics, doesn’t it?

After exploring a little bit of what a PAC is about, hopefully you will have a better grasp on this political term. We expect that it will be thrown around quite a bit in the next few months! Though getting involved with politics at any level can be dicey (and who wants to do that?!) you can trust that we here at Mapcom do our best to look out for our clients and partners whose livelihoods depend on the advancement of rural telecommunications.  Stay up-to-date on the latest rural telco issues in the political arena by following us on our blog. It may not be Schoolhouse Rock, but we’ll try to make it easy and fun to follow!