Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans .




Wednesday, July 9, 2008

PAAIA and IAPAC Merge       

Washington, D.C., July 8, 2008 –- The Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) today announced an agreement to merge the two organizations, making IAPAC the affiliated political action committee of PAAIA. The merger of the two organizations represents an unprecedented milestone for the Iranian American community, demonstrating that two existing organizations can and should come together for the greater good.

 The agreement to merge is in recognition of the considerable synergies between PAAIA and IAPAC, and will create a unified organization to more effectively serve the Iranian American community’s common interests in the political arena. The combined organization will be considerably more resourceful and efficient, providing a more influential voice for Iranian Americans in the nation’s capital.

“Joining forces will sharpen our vision and harness the collective energies of two outstanding organizations,” said Hamid Biglari, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of PAAIA. “IAPAC’s mission to support and promote the election of candidates who are attuned to the domestic issues of the Iranian American community complements PAAIA’s influence building mission.”

Established in 2002, IAPAC has been a registered non-connected bipartisan political action committee. IAPAC focuses exclusively on domestic policy issues such as civil rights and immigration, and encourages Americans of Iranian descent to actively participate in political and civic affairs. Since its inception, IAPAC has contributed to 34 candidates, including nine Iranian American candidates. IAPAC has also contributed to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

PAAIA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian, independent organization that represents the domestic interests of the Iranian American community before U.S. policymakers, opinion makers and the American public at large. PAAIA was founded to bring the community of Iranian Americans together to project an accurate and positive image of Iranian Americans that truly reflects our values and achievements, and to build a highly respected and influential voice for our community in the U.S. political process. PAAIA seeks to achieve its mission by focusing on three major areas of activities: community building, image building, and influence building.

 PAAIA is a 501(c)(4) “civic/social welfare organization” that is permitted by law to engage in issue advocacy and lobbying activities. As a social welfare organization, PAAIA can and should ideally have an affiliated political action committee to enhance its political influence building activities. The affiliated PAC will allow the organization to get directly involved in elections at the state and national levels by providing contributions to candidates running for public office.

“The NRA, NOW, and Sierra Club all have an affiliated PAC and have pumped millions of dollars into the last few election cycles,” said PAAIA’s Executive Director Babak Hoghooghi. “Our affiliation with IAPAC is synergistic and creates a more influential voice for our community in Washington, D.C.”

Under the terms of the merger agreement, as approved by the board of directors of both organizations, the name IAPAC will remain unchanged, allowing the PAC to retain its name recognition and goodwill. Furthermore, the existing Board of Directors of IAPAC will continue to serve until the end of the 2008 election cycle, and IAPAC Trustees will gain automatic membership in PAAIA. Beyond 2008, a joint committee of IAPAC and PAAIA board members will nominate and elect future members of the Board of the connected PAC. Finally, upon consummation of the merger, IAPAC’s Political Director, Morad Ghorban, will be appointed as the Legislative Director of PAAIA.

 The merger, which is subject to filings with the Federal Election Commission and other government agencies, is expected to be completed within the next week.