Hard Money vs. Soft Money


One of the most common questions RADPAC gets from ACRa members is “what do you do with contributions to RADPAC?”

RADPAC spends the contributions it receives in one of two ways depending on the source of the contributions.

“Hard money” contributions are contributions that come directly from the personal bank account (check or personal credit card account) of an ACRa member. Upon receipt, RADPAC can use these funds to make contributions to candidates for federal office, to political party committees and to leadership political action committees.

Everyday, RADPAC receives approximately 25 invitations to events held for members of Congress. The suggested amount to attend these events is a $1,000 contribution for the member of Congress. While RADPAC is selective about which events to attend, it is common for RADPAC to participate in anywhere from 10 to 30 events a month.

RADPAC decides which events to attend based on the following criteria established by the RADPAC Board:

  • Members of Congress in leadership positions within their political party
  • Members of Congress who have actively sponsored or actively supported general medical and radiology-specific bills
  • Member of Congress or candidates for Congress with a professional background as a physician or in medical field
  • Candidates for Congress whose election would create a majority of votes in the House or Senate that would likely have a positive impact on medicine and radiology
  • Viability of the candidate’s campaign through use of political polls, media reports and information from state and local sources – do we believe the candidate can/will win
  • If the member of Congress sits on a congressional committee that has jurisdiction over issues important to the medical community. The primary committees of jurisdiction for medical issues – and more specifically radiology issues – include House Energy & Commerce Committee; House Ways & Means Committee; House & Senate Judiciary Committees; and the Senate Finance Committee

When RADPAC receives contributions from a group practice, this type of contribution is referred to as “soft money” since the funds are coming directly to RADPAC from a corporate account. Since the direct source of the soft money contribution comes to RADPAC from the practice’s corporate account, RADPAC is not permitted to use these funds to make contributions to federal candidates for Congress, to political party committees or to leadership political action committees.

These soft money contributions are still important to RADPAC as they help offset many of the expenses incurred when ACRa leaders and staff attend events for Members of Congress that require travel. For instance, RADPAC used soft money contributions to pay for many of the activities related to last summer’s Democratic and Republican conventions. 

While the use of hard money and soft money contributions differ, RADPAC recognizes contributors of both types of contributions equally.