Stanley Grossman (past International Treasurer and DNC member) wrote a piece called "Alphabet Soup" for the first Democrats Abroad (DA) Handbook. It was a helpful guide to the many acronyms that are too-easily tossed around our discussions. The latest version of Stanley's work is from 2013 and available here.
This informal guide draws from Stanley's work and intentions, although it is much less discursive. We hope that these short descriptions will help orient new leaders and we welcome your comments and further questions.
The Democratic Party
Democrats Abroad (DA) and the Democratic Party
CC = Country Committee
Country Committees are constituent units of Democrats Abroad as defined by the DA Charter. We use the term so often that "CC" has become a very common acronym. Members of DA that don't live in countries served by CCs are served directly by their Regional Vice Chair (RVC).
DPCA = Democratic Party Committee Abroad
This is the official name of the governing committee of Democrats Abroad (DA). The DPCA is the group responsible for the mission of DA and it is distinct from all each of the Country Committees CCs and the full membership of Democrats Abroad. The members of this committee are listed in the Charter Section 2.2 (roughly, the Chair and Vice-Chair of each CC, the Voting Representatives of those CCs with large enough members, the elected officers of the DPCA, and the DNC members representing DA). As Stanley wrote:
The DPCA is registered with the FEC. If you go to www.fec.org you can see how much money we raised and spent each month going back to sometime in 2001. As a registered party, we are bound by contribution limits. In particular, no American can give us more than $32,400 in each of 2013 and 2014 (the max will be adjusted by inflation in 2015 and 2016).
In addition, we can engage in political activity like taking out pro-Democratic ads and giving money to any federal candidate or political party.
I could stop at that but there is another source of confusion. In our Charter, we refer to “DPCA members.” Anyone new to the organisation would find this term confusing. We are all members of DA from the time we sign up, aren’t we? Since DA is, in some sense, a synonym for the DPCA, how can someone simultaneously be a member of DA but not of the DPCA? The simple answer is that when the Charter refers to DPCA members, it really means voting members of DA.
DNC = Democratic National Committee
description + every four years (confusingly) Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Committee is the formal governing body of the Democratic Party. It coordinates among state Democratic parties, Democratic candidates, and a variety of constituency groups. Democrats Abroad participates in the DNC via our elected 8 DNC members (6 elected as DNC members, plus our International Chair and International Vice Chair). Stanley explained the relationship between the DNC and the DPCA in terms of financial reporting:
However, the FEC treats us as a separate account within the DNC. This is a bit confusing. We are simultaneously the same and different. We are different in the obvious sense that we each file separate FEC reports. If John Mogul contributes $5,000 to the DNC in July 2011, his name will appear in the Democratic Party July FEC report—not in ours. And vice versa: if John gives it to the DPCA, his name appears in our FEC report but not in that of the DNC.
But, in a very important sense, the FEC treats us as an integral part of the DNC. As I said above, the maximum that an individual can give to a political party in 2013 is $32,400. The FEC treats this limit as the combined amount an individual can give to both the DNC and the DPCA. Thus, if someone gives the DNC $20,000 in 2013, she can give only $12,400 to the DPCA.
DCCC, DSCC, DLCC: National fund-raising for Democratic candidates
description + every four years (confusingly) Democratic National ConventionThese three organizations are powerful fund-raisers for Democratic candidates, run by Democratic elected officials. They often publish lists of targeted elections that other parts of the Democratic party use to prioritize GOTV energy and funds (although they do not have formal authority and many parts add or subtract from those lists). The DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) is run by Democrats elected to the US House of Representatives and it is often spoken as "D-trip". The DSCC is run by Democratic US Senators and the DGA is run by Democratic governors. The DLCC (Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee) works to elect Democrats to state legislatures.
Voter Registration and Voting Law