Thousands upon thousands of interest groups exist in DC, every one of them competing for attention from our legislators. The number of groups doing so effectively, however, is far smaller. This handbook gives you the tools necessary to make FMA’s legislative agenda a priority within Congress.
What You Need to Know
Senators and Representatives who want to get reelected pay attention to their constituents. For a Senator, that means the people who live in their state. For the 435 Congressional Representatives, that means residents of their individual district. The National Office can do a lot, but we can't speak as constituents the way you can. Your outreach to your legislators brings their support on key bills, from paid parental leave for feds to whistleblower protections or fair raises. There is no substitute for constituent engagement, and FMA has a strong track record of success. When constituents get together and conduct an organized effort to sway their legislators on their behalf, it is called a grassroots campaign. For more information on how FMA conducts grassroots campaigns, click here.
FMA-PAC, and the donations it gives to legislators, have two functions. First, it opens doors to meetings that would otherwise be closed, giving us bipartisan support for legislation to benefit federal managers. Second, it helps friendly legislators win reelection so they can continue to advocate for your interests and pass legislation to benefit feds. FMA-PAC is funded entirely by donations from FMA members. To learn more about FMA-PAC, click here.
The Hatch Act
As an American, you have the same rights to free speech, political engagement and contributions, and advocacy as any other citizen. This wasn't always the case. From 1939 to 1993, the Hatch Act prohibited federal employees from engaging in any overt political activities. Thanks in large part to advocacy efforts by FMA, the Hatch Act was modified to give you the same political rights as your fellow citizens. However, the Hatch Act still prohibits you from using government time, money, or resources to engage in political activities. For a full breakdown of the do's and don'ts of the Hatch Act, click here.
Legislative Action Teams (LATs)
If you're reading this, this means you. Each FMA Chapter should have a Legislative Action Team, or a LAT. Each LAT is responsible for educating, motivating and coordinating that chapter's participation in and support of FMA's legislative agenda on Capitol Hill. You are our grassroots outreach campaign. For more information on LATs, and to read our LAT FAQ, click here.
Grassroots Campaigns: A How To Manual
It's easy to tell someone to "contact their legislator". It's a lot harder to tell them how to actually do so effectively. To make a grassroots campaign work, you need to know who to contact, how to contact them, what the next steps are, and what to say and do throughout the process. Fortunately, making sure that information is available to you is a major part of why the FMA National Office exists. For the specific steps you need to take to get your legislators to pay attention, and to support your efforts once you're in front of them, click here.