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Dear Autism Super PAC Advocate -

Last night's Presidential debate again highlighted the urgency of active engagement in the Presidential campaign by the millions of Americans who know and love someone affected by autism.

In the one debate devoted exclusively to domestic issues, including healthcare, the only mention of autism was a restatement of the commitment by President Obama to continue autism benefits under Medicaid. Of course, these benefits are vital to many families struggling with autism, but if that is the only leg of the stool of the next President's response to the public health emergency of autism, the stool will not stand.

Medicaid assists families and individuals facing autism with longer-term care, often institutional care. The autism community must tell the candidates that we want more and better than warehouses filled with iron lungs. We want, as occurred with polio, to find the causes and ways to prevent autism from disabling far too many of our children.

Please, today, contact the campaigns of President Obama and Governor Romney at...

...with a personal message, in your own words, saying how disappointed you are that neither candidate committed to a more urgent federal research response to autism, and that neither candidate referenced the clearly non-ideological and bipartisan idea, articulated earlier this year by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, of a brain science initiative in order to combat the twin public health devils of autism and Alzheimer's. Such an initiative is both a moral imperative for our government and is the giant missing piece in the debate between the two candidates over how to reduce healthcare costs. Clearly, the greatest reduction possible in healthcare spending is preventing people from becoming afflicted with chronic and often debilitating medical conditions, including autism and Alzheimer's.

Thanks for your continued support of the Autism Super PAC and please stand by for additional updates and action alerts as the remainder of the campaign unfolds, and beyond.

Craig Snyder, President Autism Super PAC

Posted on 2012 Oct 04 by Autism SuperPAC
Autism Super PAC Responds to First Presidential Debate


Autism Super PAC Responds to First Presidential Debate


Media Contact: Todd Barrish, Indicate Media 646-396-6090

The only mention of the severe national public health crisis of autism in last night's Presidential debate - the one debate dedicated solely to domestic issues - was President Obama's restatement of support for the protection of autism benefits under the Medicaid program, which often assists families struggling with autism in providing long-term, usually institutional, care for their adult children with autism.

The Autism Super PAC applauds President Obama's commitment to continue autism benefits in any reform of Medicaid and also acknowledges Governor Romney's stated commitment in the debate to a Medicaid program which will continue to serve the needs of disabled Americans.

However, neither candidate addressed, even for a moment, the main issue - how do we prevent autism and treat autism through biomedical research such that people do not require expensive and heartbreaking long term institutional care?

Autism Super PAC President, Craig Snyder said, "We have to keep holding both candidates' feet to the fire on this crucial issue. They both, last night, disappointed the tens of millions of Americans who know and love someone affected by autism. And, they both were incoherent in addressing how best to control healthcare costs by failing to make the obvious connection between investment in medical research, which prevents disabling medical conditions, rather than merely trying to house and care for people with autism who have been rendered disabled by the condition."

Snyder continued, " The autism community must tell the candidates that we want more and better than warehouses filled with iron lungs. We want, as occurred with polio, to find the causes and ways to prevent autism from disabling far too many of our children."

Neither candidate took the opportunity of the debate and its huge national audience to address the substantial majority of Americans which Autism Super PAC polling has confirmed support a much more vigorous federal response to the public health crisis of autism. Neither candidate addressed the consensus among America's leading scientists that unlocking human understanding of the brain could be to 21st century science what unlocking the secrets of the atom was to 20th century science. Consequently, they failed to address the most important answer to their hotly debated concern about how to reduce healthcare costs.

As former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, repeatedly argued in his Presidential campaign earlier this year, a federal commitment to brain science research - by producing breakthroughs on the twin crises of autism and Alzheimer's - could do more than almost any other single policy to reduce projected long term federal deficits.


Posted on 2012 Oct 04 by Autism SuperPAC
Super PACs get new use -- as lobbying arms on Hill


Super PACs get new use -- as lobbying arms on Hill

By: Dave Levinthal September 25, 2012 05:59 PM EDT

There’s a second act for super PACs. From autism research to dentists, a growing number of issue-based organizations are preparing to use these powerful political committees not for their prescribed purpose — advocating for the election or defeat of candidates — but as de facto lobbying arms on Capitol Hill.

The advantage?

Super PACs may raise and spend as much money as they please, including from corporations, unions and individuals, to broadcast whatever they want about politicians within the context of their particular special interest. Traditional issue ads, in contrast, don’t allow for full-throated attacks or endorsements, and the nonprofit groups that often sponsor them can’t by law have a primary purpose in engaging in politics like super PACs can. 

So for some issue interest groups, super PACs are a potentially major complement to — if not upgrade over — traditional, Capitol Hill lobbying in their ability to bring heat on lawmakers and twist their arms toward their agendas.

“If you’re a lobbyist, you’re talking with a legislator and mention you’re forming a super PAC, their ears are really going to perk up just because you said the words ‘super PAC,’” said Shana Glickfield, a partner at public affairs firm Beekeeper Group. “It’s such a big, scary thing — and can give you an extra edge of influence.”

That’s precisely why Craig Snyder, a former lobbyist for Autism Speaks and a chief of staff to former Sen. Arlen Specter, is now president of the new Autism Super PAC.

The super PAC — which is not affiliated with other autism education organizations — plans to produce an advertising campaign aimed at convincing both President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney to endorse its agenda, which includes demands to double federal autism research dollars by 2017 and create an autism research office within the National Institutes of Health. Formed last month, the group has already bankrolled pricey political polling indicating Americans are overwhelmingly supportive of increased federal autism funding.

If the candidates ignore the super PAC, Snyder said he’s prepared to launch a yet-to-be-produced advertising barrage against either candidate, regardless of who ultimately wins the White House. These ads, he said, would be “hard-hitting” in tone and tenor.

“There will be political consequences for ignoring our community and this issue,” Snyder said.

“As a super PAC, you can speak to power with so much more clarity — both the money in and message out are more open than they’d be otherwise,” he added. “Whatever you think of the Citizens United decision and super PACs, if these are going to be the rules, why not use them for causes you feel are important?”

The National Association of Realtors — among the first issue-based organizations to form a super PAC — has augmented its already sizable lobbying firepower with its own super PAC that’s rewarded like-minded lawmakers with hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising air cover.

Through July, the National Association of Realtors Congressional Fund super PAC boasted spending nearly $826,000 to boost various pro-development lawmakers such as Reps. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and congressional candidate Marc Veasey (D-Texas). And it still reported having $1 million in the bank.

A Realtor super PAC ad lauding Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), for example, repeatedly praised the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman for his development-friendly legislation and stances, such as fighting for tax deductions on second homes. A pro-Peters ad says the congressman “fights every day for safe and affordable home financing for all responsible borrowers.” Both overtly call for the lawmakers’ reelection.

“The super PAC — it’s a complement to our other outreach and it’s another form of lobbying, in a sense,” said Scott Reiter, the association’s political director who also runs the super PAC.

“You’ll definitely see more and more mainstream groups looking at super PACs,” he added.

Officials from special interest groups such as Gun Owners of America and the Drug Policy Alliance have yet to form super PACs, but they confirm they would consider doing do.

The American Dental Association and the Cooperative of American Physicians are among established issue-focused organizations that have already formed super PACs.

The ADA’s super PAC has spent at least $323,000 in radio ads, direct mail and polling to support Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) as well as Republican House candidates Scott Keadle of North Carolina and Fred Costello of Florida — all dentists by trade. About half of this super PAC’s money comes in the form of contributions from Citibank, according to federal disclosure reports.

Of course, forming a super PAC isn’t without political risk.

Siding too much with one political party could make it difficult to do business in Washington and risk losing bipartisan credibility.

And campaign finance reformers have vilified super PACs as a primary symptom of a political finance regime run amok, where big money raised from corporate sources and wealthy individuals unduly games the system.

But a 2011 federal court decision and subsequent Federal Election Commission ruling is making issue-focused super PACs even easier to create. The hybrid PAC is a single political committee that may operate as a traditional PAC and a super PAC at the same time, so long as the money for each are kept in separate accounts.

It’s particularly attractive since many special interest groups already have a traditional PAC. These existing PACs need only send a letter to the FEC to announce they’re going hybrid. At least 45 hybrid PACs have materialized, federal records show.

They include special interests ranging from the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee and PURO PAC, which advocates for the cigar industry, to the Harbor Trucking Association Federal Political Action Committee and Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund Federal PAC.

Big-ticket congressional issues coming up after Nov. 7, including the budget deficit, tax reform and sequestration, almost invite super PAC activity, said James Bonham, chairman of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips’ federal government affairs and public policy practice.

For super PACs sporting big financial reserves after Election Day, “it’s going to be pretty hard to keep that cash sitting in an account — if it’s there, it’ll be spent, even if it’s not on an election.”


Posted on 2012 Sep 26 by Autism SuperPAC
Survey Finds Presidential Election Could Be Decided by Candidates' Positions on Autism





Media Contact: Todd Barrish, Indicate Media


The Autism Super PAC ( today went live with its website, including posting the findings described in this release on the first national public opinion survey on autism policy and politics.

The PAC employed IKON Public Affairs which conducted the poll of 800 Americans on September 4th through 6th, 2012 (including 544 registered and likely voters, providing a margin of error among the likely voter sample of ± 5%).

Consistent with other national polling, the Autism Super PAC survey shows the Presidential election to be quite close, with 47% (including leaners) for President Obama and 46% for Governor Romney, with 7% undecided.

Super PAC President, Craig Snyder (former Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter and former registered lobbyist for Autism Speaks and one of its predecessor organizations, Cure Autism Now) said, "With the election this close and so few voters undecided, President Obama needs to know that 30% of Americans say they are less likely to vote for the President knowing of his 2008 campaign policy commitments on autism which he has broken in office, and 36% of Americans say they are less likely to vote for Governor Romney if he does not articulate a specific platform addressing the increasing rate of autism."

"Pundits and politicos," Snyder continued, "are pouring over data about swing states and swing constituencies. This survey proves that the candidates face great political peril if they overlook the extended autism family."

Other key findings from the Autism Super PAC poll include: General awareness/attitudes on autism ‐

58% of Americans say that they know someone "who has been diagnosed with autism, formally known as 'autism spectrum disorder', including Asperger's".

  • •  Among this majority of Americans who have been touched by the autism epidemic, 15% say the affected person is a member of their family, 26% a member of a family they know, 30% someone they know from work, and 12% someone they know from their community or school.

  • •  52%, as opposed to only 8% feeling otherwise, believe the people they know with autism are not receiving proper medical treatment covered by their health insurance.

  • •  Even among the 34% of Americans saying they do not know anyone in their own lives touched by autism, there is a nearly 3 to 1 margin of belief (35% versus 12%) that people with autism are not receiving proper medical treatment, covered by their health insurance.

  • •  By a margin of 2 to 1 (41% to 20%), Americans believe that unknown environmental factors, rather than better diagnosis, explains the surge in autism prevalence reported by the CDC.

Autism policy and politics ‐

  • •  61% of Americans agree (while only 35% disagree) with the statement "finding preventions, cures and treatments for medical conditions such as autism is as important and necessary a use of tax dollars as anything else the federal government should do."

  • •  By a margin of 49% to 36%, Americans disagree with the statement "we just can't afford more money on anything right now, including things that sound good, like medical research on autism."

  • •  By a margin of 55% to 33%, Americans support a doubling of federal resources to "find the causes of and treatments for autism."

  • •  78% of Americans agree that there should be a health research institution in the federal government dedicated to autism research, just as there is an Office of AIDS Research, a National Cancer Institute and other similar organizations.

  • •  65% of Americans believe "big company health plans should be required to end discrimination against people with autism."

Snyder said, "The Autism Super PAC is seeking a policy pledge from President Obama and Governor Romney to support ‐ among other things ‐ the creation of an Office of Autism Research in the NIH, modeled on the Office of AIDS Research, and to support legislation requiring ERISA health plans to cover medically necessary treatments for autism. Our survey shows that by huge margins ‐ 40% to 15% and 37% to 25%, respectively ‐ Americans say they are more likely to vote for a candidate for President making a commitment on these policies. At the margin, who knows what could or will decide this close election? By doing the right things on autism, both candidates have the opportunity to be sure they do not alienate what this survey proves to be a huge and passionate block of voters."



Posted on 2012 Sep 07 by Autism SuperPAC
Autism SuperPAC

Check back often for developments and reports on our activities.

Posted on 2012 Sep 07 by Autism SuperPAC
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Paid for by the Autism SuperPAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.