Political action committee

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In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect or defeat government officials or to promote legislation. Legally, what constitutes a "PAC" for purposes of regulation is a matter of state and federal law. Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, an organization becomes a "political committee" by receiving contributions or making expenditures in excess of $1,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election.

Contributions by individuals to federal PACs are limited to $5000. Corporations and unions may not contribute to federal PACs, though they may pay for the administrative costs of a PAC affiliated with the specific corporation or union. Corporate and union affiliated PACs may only solicit contributions from executives, shareholders and their families (in the case of corporations) or members (in the case of unions). "Independent" PACs not affiliated with a corporation or union may solicit contributions from the general public but must pay their operating costs from these regulated contributions.

Federal Multi-candidate PACs are limited in the amount of money they can contribute to other organizations:

  • at most $5,000 per candidate per election. Elections such as primaries, general elections and special elections are counted separately.
  • at most $15,000 per political party per year.
  • at most $5,000 per PAC per year.

Under federal law, PACs are not limited in their ability to spend money independently of a candidate campaign.

Categorization of PACs

Political Money Line

PoliticalMoneyLine uses the following categories for PACs (The latest totals are available here)

  • Agriculture
  • Business - Retail, Services
  • Communication, Technology
  • City/County
  • Defense
  • Energy, Natural Resources
  • Finance, Insurance
  • Foreign Countries
  • Health Care
  • Organized Labor
  • Law
  • Manufacturing
  • Public Employees
  • Real Estate/Construction
  • Transportation
  • Miscellaneous
  • Undetermined

Super PACs

Read full article: [[Super PAC]]

[[Super PAC|Super PACs]] are not legally considered a kind of PAC, as they have separate rules governing their activities.[1]

A super PAC is a political committee that has no legal limits on its spending or the donations it accepts. A super PAC is not allowed to contribute directly to a politician or political party, but can spend independently to campaign for or against political figures. Hence, super PACs are officially called independent expenditure-only committees.[2]

2004 Presidential election

In the 2004 elections, the top 10 PACs by money spent by themselves, their affiliates and subsidiaries were as follows:

  1. EMILY's List $22,767,521
  2. Service Employees International Union $12,899,352
  3. American Federation of Teachers $12,789,296
  4. American Medical Association $11,901,542
  5. National Rifle Association $11,173,358
  6. Teamsters Union $11,128,729
  7. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $10,819,724
  8. National Education Association $10,521,538
  9. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees $9,882,022
  10. Laborers' International Union of North America $9,523,837

External links


Portions of this article have been adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Copyright Notice can be found here.