Julia K. Stronks
In 1973 the American Association of Publishers (AAP), headquartered in New York City, opened a Washington office and hired its first lobbyist. Months later the AAP Political Action Committee (AAP-PAC) was formed to develop a "visual presence" on Capitol Hill. 1 Over the past nineteen years, the AAP's lobbying efforts and PAC contributions have been integrated and directed by one woman, Diane Rennert. Although the influence of a small trade/membership PAC may be limited in scope, the organization of the AAP-PAC sheds light on the ability of a small number of people to use pooled contributions in a way that effects policy change for an organization's benefit.
The American Association of Publishers is made up of over 200 book publishing corporations. In past years the book publishing industry was run by "families and men of literature." 2 The AAP catered to the publishers' interests in an informal way. However, twenty years ago the national growth of the publishing industry led the AAP to consider the need for a legislative issues office in Washington. Diane Rennert, a former political aide to Senator Hubert Humphrey, was hired to lobby Congress on issues of interest to publishers such as taxes, postal rates, copyright law, and First Amendment protections.
Rennert's prior Capitol Hill experience had led her to believe that although organizations could not purchase votes or influence legislators directly, the contributions of even a small PAC could give an organization a "presence" in