Local fire authorities warn of potential PAC scam

Local fire and EMS authorities are warning citizens of a possible Political Action Committee scam supposedly soliciting donations to help “our nation’s firefighters.”

Cottonwood Fire and Medical Chief Mike Kuykendall said he was alerted of this potential scam from a local citizen who claimed they received a call from the Firefighters Support Association PAC.

“The Verde Valley Fire and EMS Chiefs Association would like to advise local residents that the ‘Firefighters Support Association PAC’ does not represent, and is not endorsed by any Fire or EMS districts/departments serving the Verde Valley/Sedona area,” according to a news release sent out by the Verde Valley Fire Chiefs and EMS Association.

The Center for Responsive Politics, an organization that tracks information on PAC money, lists the committee as a super PAC. A super PAC is an independent expenditure-only committee and may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, organizations and individuals and can also spend unlimited funds to advocate for or against any political candidate, according to CRP.

The PAC lists a Mississippi number as its contact information.

No donors are listed in the last several election cycles for the PAC. Super PACS are required to report their donors to the Federal Election Commission, according to CRP. Visit CRP’s website, OpenSecrets.org to learn more.

The local fire chiefs association “strongly recommends” citizens contact local fire departments before donating to any group that associates themselves with the fire service or EMS community.

“As a rule, your local fire and EMS agencies do not solicit donations by phone and we recommend against making donations to phone solicitors who state they represent Fire Service or EMS organizations,” the news release states.

Kuykendall said VVFCA wants citizens to be aware of the organization because there is still limited information on them.

“When it sounds like you are helping out your local fireman it sounds legitimate,” he said. “People can get taken advantage of.”

The FEC advises citizens to always ask fundraisers for identification and how their contribution will be used.

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