Fraternities Have Their Own PAC on Capitol Hill

The PAC in question is called the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee, but we're going to call it FratPAC, because that's funnier. Begun in the 2006 political cycle, FratPAC has raised between $300,000 and $500,000 every election cycle since that midterm election, giving nearly two-thirds of the group's donations to Republican candidates. Unsurprisingly, “the vast majority of recipients of this money were members of Greek letter organizations during their collegiate years.”

Okay, so why is this group pretty wild? It just single-handedly killed an anti-hazing bill circulating in the House. Last fall, Representative Frederica Wilson joined the family of a Harrison Kowiak—a pledge who was killed during a Hell Night event at Lenoir Rhyne—in calling for federal restrictions on fraternity hazing. But Wilson has since backed off, and no legislation is forthcoming, because, according to Bloomberg, FratPAC did what PACs do best: Pressure congressmen.

As Wilson vowed to deny financial aid to students who engage in hazing, Kowiak applauded. What Kowiak didn’t know was that, behind the scenes, the fraternity industry’s political arm, known as “FratPAC,” had been pressing Wilson to back off. Today, 19 months after Wilson first promised an anti-hazing bill, she hasn’t filed one.

“Their opposition is very influential,” said Diane Watson, a former Democratic member of Congress from California,


Wilson received a grand from FratPAC last year.

Anyway, it should be noted that FratPAC began with an incredibly narrow focus: To “reform tax law to allow fraternities to use funds donated as charitable contributions to allow the installation of fire sprinklers.” It's since grown into this really influential body, working on politicians who, often, were members of fraternities and sororities themselves.

Thoughts on Greek life having this particular kind of voice in D.C.? Should the PAC advocate against hazing legislation? Discuss in the comments.

[H/T: The Atlantic Wire]