In U.S. politics, an organization whose purpose is to raise and distribute campaign funds to candidates seeking political office. PACs rose to prominence after the Federal Election Campaign Act (1971) limited the amount of money any corporation, union, or private individual could give to a candidate. PACs were able to circumvent these limits by soliciting smaller contributions from a much larger number of individuals. During the late 20th and early 21st centuries the vast amounts of money raised by PACs greatly increased the cost of running for office and led to efforts to reform this method of financing campaigns.
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When an interest group gets directly involved within the political process, a PAC is created. These PACs receive and raise money from the special group's constituents, and on behalf of the special interest, makes donations to political campaigns.
Contributions by individuals to federal PACs are limited to $5,000. 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:
Under federal law, PACs are not limited in their ability to spend money independently of a candidate campaign.
|Rank||Organization||Total||Dem %||Repub %||Tilt|
|1||American Fedn of State, County & Municipal Employees||$39,947,843||98%||1%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|2||AT&T Inc||$39,772,431||43%||55%||Between 40% and 59% to both parties|
|3||National Assn of Realtors||$33,280,206||47%||52%||Between 40% and 59% to both parties|
|4||Goldman Sachs||$29,588,362||63%||36%||Leans Dem (60%-69%)|
|5||American Assn for Justice||$29,520,389||90%||9%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|6||Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers||$28,733,734||97%||2%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|7||National Education Assn||$28,388,334||93%||6%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|8||Laborers Union||$26,881,889||91%||7%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|9||Service Employees International Union||$26,719,663||95%||3%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|10||Carpenters & Joiners Union||$25,995,149||90%||9%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|11||Teamsters Union||$25,627,772||92%||6%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|12||Communications Workers of America||$25,404,269||99%||0%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|13||American Medical Assn||$25,235,971||38%||61%||Leans Repub (60%-69%)|
|14||American Federation of Teachers||$24,969,593||98%||0%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|15||Citigroup Inc||$24,784,983||49%||50%||Between 40% and 59% to both parties|
|16||United Auto Workers||$24,634,120||98%||0%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|17||Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union||$23,548,086||98%||0%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|18||Altria Group||$23,264,991||27%||72%||Strongly Repub (60%-69%)|
|19||United Food & Commercial Workers Union||$22,926,107||98%||1%||Solidly Dem (over 90%)|
|20||National Auto Dealers Assn||$22,733,608||31%||68%||Leans Repub (60%-69%)|