Through the AMO Voluntary Political Action Fund, our legislative staff contributes to the campaigns of elected representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives. This process allows our staff to establish supportive relationships with key representatives. These relationships provide a basis to educate newly elected representatives in the important roles of U.S.-flag shipping, as well as the ability to work with incumbent leaders on issues vital to the merchant fleet.
A contribution to the AMO Voluntary Political Action Fund is an investment in job and benefit security for American mariners and in the future of our industry. The success of our legislative staff depends upon your support of the VPAF.
The cornerstones of U.S. maritime policy our legislative staff works to promote and protect are:
- U.S. cabotage laws: the Jones Act, Passenger Vessel Services Act and the Towing and Dredging Act-these statutes reserve waterborne shipping between domestic ports and U.S. territories for vessels built in the U.S., manned by U.S. citizens and operated by U.S. companies. The cabotage laws govern domestic deep-sea, Great Lakes and inland waters shipping trades and maritime operations.
- The Maritime Security Program: this program supports a fleet of 60 U.S.-flagged vessels operating in commercial trades. In exchange for an annual allotment, the vessels are made available to the Defense Department for sealift operations in times of war and national crisis.
- Cargo preference laws: these laws reserve shares of U.S. government cargoes, including shipments of military equipment and humanitarian food-aid, for U.S.-flagged commercial vessels operated by American companies.
- Dredging and Harbor Maintenance: these operations regularly require authorization and funding from the federal government to maintain U.S. harbors and channels to project depths for commercial shipping.
- Title XI: this program provides federal loan guarantees for private sector financing of the construction of ships and maritime infrastructure components at American shipyards.
Contributions to the AMO Voluntary Political Fund are used expressly for direct contributions to the campaigns of elected representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives. Contributions to the VPAF are held in an account separate from other union and plans funds.
Nearly 100 percent of every dollar contributed to the Voluntary Political Action Fund is used for direct campaign contributions. The remaining portion pays for banking and auditing services to ensure the fund's compliance with federal regulations.
Complete contribution disclosure reports for the AMO Voluntary Political Action Fund are available on the Federal Elections Commission's Web site. Visit the FEC search page at this address: https://fec.gov/data. On the search page, enter "American Maritime Officers" in the search field.