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What is a Political Action Committee?

A political action committee (“PAC”) is an organization formed by business, labor, or other special-interest groups to raise money and make contributions to the campaigns of political candidates it supports.

PACs became popular in the 1970’s after campaign finance reform laws put limits on the amount of money an individual can contribute to each candidate for public office. PACs allow individuals that support the same issues to combine their financial support to candidates into a significant single donation.

What is DENPAC?

DENPAC, the general purpose action committee of the Texas Dental Association (“TDA”), is a voluntary, non-profit, unincorporated group of dentists whose goal is to influence the nomination or election of state candidates who have demonstrated their concern for the preservation of dentistry as an independent profession and for the dental health of the people of Texas.

Why do we need DENPAC?

State government plays a vital role in setting guidelines for how you run your practice on a daily basis. From taxation and regulation to scope of practice and licensing, the Texas Legislature makes decisions affecting every aspect of the dental profession.

DENPAC exists to help safeguard against counter-productive legislation and to ensure that the Texas Dental Association is a constant presence at our state capitol. When lawmakers address issues affecting the practice of dentistry in Texas, DENPAC is hard at work making your voice heard.

What does DENPAC do?

Along with the practice of dentistry, DENPAC also promotes and protects the dental health of the people of Texas. The Texas Dental Association advocates funding for charitable programs, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (“CHIP”) and Medicaid, and strives to keep these programs available to patients in need.

Who administers DENPAC?

A board of directors consisting of at least 23 members oversees all DENPAC operations. The board includes: chair, vice chair, immediate past chair, secretary treasurer, immediate past treasurer, new dentist, 12 directors, and 5 liaisons. All board members must be members of the TDA except the Alliance liaison, whose spouse must be a member of the TDA, and the student liaison, who must be currently enrolled in an accredited Texas dental school. No voting member of the DENPAC Board can serve simultaneously on the TDA Board of Directors or the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (“TSBDE”). In addition, an employee of local, state, or federal government is not eligible for election as an officer or director.

Where do my DENPAC dollars go?

The Texas Dental Association provides funding for all administrative expenses incurred by DENPAC including professional staff and office facilities. Therefore, 100% of your DENPAC dollars go directly to candidates seeking state office. 

Why should I contribute to DENPAC instead of directly to candidates?

DENPAC combines the resources of political funds, legislative expertise, and Texas dentists to approach legislators on matters of vital concern through a well-organized, well-informed, united front. Often DENPAC is able to support candidates in legislative districts where effective political participation by dentists might not be possible. However, DENPAC encourages dentists to remain active with local campaigns.

Which political party does DENPAC support?

DENPAC is not affiliated with any party. Decisions for support are based on the individual candidates and their views with regard to organized dentistry—not on the candidate’s party affiliation.

Who decides which candidates receive DENPAC support?

Individual DENPAC members and DENPAC representatives are asked to interview candidates regarding dental issues and then make recommendations to the DENPAC Board Recommendations are also made by the TDA legislative consultants. A candidate’s political ideology, past voting record, and estimated political success are all taken into account.

How are DENPAC contributions delivered to candidates?

Usually a DENPAC board member, a district representative, or a key contact dentist is responsible for delivering DENPAC campaign contributions to candidates. A key contact dentist is a TDA member dentist with personal or political ties to an elected official. Key contact dentists are individuals who are committed to the advancement of TDA issues and who serve as liaisons to one or more elected or appointed state officials. Campaign contributions are usually delivered at a campaign fundraiser, a campaign office, or at a personal meeting with the candidate.

Isn’t DENPAC just buying votes?

No! Campaign contributions made to candidates are not intended to influence his or her position on legislative issues. However, a contribution can make a difference in successfully electing a candidate to office who shares our concerns for the dental profession and the dental health of the people of Texas. Contributions also help gain access to elected officials making it easier to establish longstanding relationships.

Is DENPAC successful?

Yes, DENPAC has a proven track record of success. In election years, DENPAC contributes more than $300,000 to candidates running for state office, historically winning more than 90% of its targeted races.

How can I participate in political action?

You can participate in political action by attending the TDA Legislative Day, becoming a key contact dentist, getting involved as a local DENPAC representative, or simply by contributing to DENPAC. You can contribute to the PAC in many different ways and at many different levels. You can give through your TDA membership dues statement, online at, by phone at 512-443-3675, or through the DENPAC EZ Pledge program.