The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s political action committee in California has decided to fold up after several disappointing years in which it did not raise much money.
The decision comes after a new industry PAC affiliated with the American Plastics Council entered the fund-raising arena and started bringing in a lot more money than SPI's group.
SPI's PAC decided to hand out its remaining money to candidates it had supported, said David Jolly, a San Diego-based regional manager of government affairs with Dart Container Corp. Jolly sits on the board of both PACs.
"We just weren't able to raise the money we had hoped to," Jolly said. "A lot of the SPI companies are smaller companies. We gave it a good shot."
SPI closed out the year with about $3,600, while the other PAC, Plastics California, finished with $39,000 in the bank, according to filings with the California Secretary of State.
The SPI PAC raised $29,000 in 2000, while Plastics California raised $77,000. More than two-thirds of SPI's money, however, went to fund-raising costs.
Jolly said the SPI PAC probably will give its remaining money to party leadership committees, not to Plastics California, because SPI's PAC traditionally does not give to other PACs.
The chairman of SPI's PAC, Ed Laird, president of Coatings Resource Corp. in Huntington Beach, Calif., could not be reached.
Bill Hall, a board member of Plastics California, said he hoped SPI's donors would give their money to Plastics California, and said he would welcome participation from SPI's PAC leaders. Hall is co-owner of Action Mold Co. in Anaheim.
While the two groups cooperated on a legislative reception in Sacramento recently, the two groups at times have sparred. Last summer officials from SPI's PAC complained that Plastics California wanted to put SPI's effort out of business. Plastics California leaders said they formed because SPI was not raising enough money to be effective.
Hall said Plastics California will focus on three priorities: stopping recycling initiatives of state Sen. Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, who may introduce a bill proposing an advanced disposal fee on containers; worker training issues; and better management of the state's energy and electricity crisis, although the group has yet to define its position on that.