Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Marketers Defense Fund?

PMAA established the Marketer Defense Fund, sometimes referred as the 535 Fund or MDF, as a method to obtain corporate donations for priority projects. The MDF Program is different from PMAA’s Small Business Committee PAC and is designed to supplement PMAA’s lobbying budget to cover priority projects, i.e., some aspects of a political event or for public relations campaigns related to a legislative initiative. For example, part of the monies collected for the MDF have been used for research projects to defeat regulatory initiatives such as an efforts to mandate a 10 micron diesel filter, wetlines retrofit as well as automatic temperature compensation (ATC) at retail.  The MDF has saved marketers approximately $1.3 billion which equals $162,500 per marketer.  Additionally, the MDF has been used on:

  • A diesel fuel corrosion study
  • Hiring outside consultants to represent PMAA at several regulatory agencies
  • Paying for PMAA marketer travel for important underground storage tank (UST) meetings
  • Splashblending litigation
  • Interchange fee coalition activities
  • Supporting local charity events.

Are contributions to either the MDF deductible?

Contributions to the MDF program are not deductible as a charitable contribution; however, a portion is deductible as a business expense.

Why is only a portion deductible?

In 1993, Congress passed a law advising any money used for lobbying was not deductible for income tax purposes. PMAA is required to annually inform MDF contributors what portion of the total dues is used for lobbying as defined by Congress. That portion is non-deductible.