The end of 2020 was the close of the 2019-2020 election cycle for the activities of all political action committees (PACs). In this two-year cycle, the five Turkish American Political Action Committees* under the Ten Thousand Turks Campaign made contributions of $202,640. Overall, the Turkish American PACs have contributed nearly $2.2 million since 2007.
In the 2019-2020 election cycle, the PACs contributed to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Congressional Black Caucus PAC (CBC PAC), and Bold PAC (Congressional Hispanic PAC).
The PACs also contributed to three U.S. senators, 61 candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, and ten candidates for state or local races. The percentage of wins was 100% for the Senate, 98% for the House, and 50% for state and local offices. Further, the PACs were instrumental in rallying support for the 11 Turkish Americans running for public office in 2020, the largest number ever, and the three spouses of Turkish Americans for a total of 14 candidates from the community.
Notable successes by the PACs in the 2019-2020 election cycle were the following:
(1) The comeback of Pete Sessions, the former Turkey Caucus Co-Chair, in winning Texas’s 17th congressional district after his loss in 2018 when he represented the 32nd district;
(2) The election of Farrah Khan, a popular friend of Turkish Americans in southern California, as the Mayor of Irvine, California;
(3) The election of Turkish American Aycha Sawa as the City Comptroller for Milwaukee, Wisconsin;
(4) The reelection of Turkish American Tayfun Selen as a Freeholder (County Commissioner) of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders (County Commissioners) in New Jersey;
(5) The reelection of Ben Bartlett, spouse of Turkish American Yelda Bartlett, as a City Council Member in Berkeley, California; and
(6) The election of Leah Ersoylu, spouse of Turkish American Sarp Ersoylu, as a Trustee of the Newport Mesa United School District in Orange County, California.
Another highlight in 2020 was the Turkish Coalition Northeast PAC’s (TC-NE PAC) transition to the National Coalition of Turkish American Women PAC (NC-TAW PAC), launched on October 29th.
*The five Turkish American PACs are the (1) Turkish Coalition USA PAC (TC-USA PAC), (2) Turkish Coalition California PAC (TC-CAL PAC), (3) Turkish Coalition Midwest PAC (TC-Midwest PAC), (4) Turkish American Heritage PAC (Turkish PAC Texas), and National Coalition of Turkish American Women PAC (NC-TAW PAC), formerly the Turkish Coalition Northeast PAC. They are independent, nonpartisan, and not affiliated with any political party, candidate, religious movement, or charity. The PACs promote Turkish American interests in the political arena in the United States, including a robust U.S.-Turkey partnership. They are not engaged in Turkish internal politics.
Unlike Turkish American charitable organizations, the PACs, which are regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), create a forum for Turkish American political involvement in the U.S. and are allowed under the law to support and oppose political candidates. They provide a mechanism for Turkish Americans to support candidates who share their interests on domestic issues and the necessity of balanced dialogue in discussing foreign affairs. Through the PACs, Turkish Americans can magnify their voice as a community in the political arena. Further, they give moral and financial support to Turkish Americans who are running for public office.
Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) can contribute to the PACs. Contributions are not tax-deductible.
Corporations, foreign nationals, and minors are prohibited by law from making contributions. Third-party transfers are also not permitted.
To support the Turkish American PACs in the 2021-2022 election cycle and for more information on their activities, visit www.tenthousandturks.org.