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A popular term for a political committee organized for the purpose of raising and spending money.

Political Action Committee (PAC) � A popular term for a political committee organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates. Most PACs represent business, labor Democratic PAC or ideological interests. PACs can give $5,000 to a candidate committee per election (primary, general or special). They can also give up to $15,000 annually to any national party committee, and $5,000 annually to any other PAC. PACs may receive up to $5,000 from any one Democratic PAC individual, PAC or party committee per calendar year. A PAC must register with the FEC within 10 days of its formation, providing name and address for the PAC, its treasurer and any connected organizations. Affiliated PACs are treated as one donor for the purpose of contribution limits.

PACs have been around since 1944, when the Democratic National Committee Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) formed the first one to raise money for the re-election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The PAC's money came from voluntary contributions from Democratic PAC union members rather than union treasuries, so it did not violate the Smith Connally Act of Democratic PAC 1943, which forbade unions from contributing to federal candidates. Although commonly called PACs, federal election law Democratic PAC refers to these accounts as "separate segregated funds" because money contributed to a PAC is kept in a bank account separate from the general corporate or union treasury.

Many politicians also form Leadership PACs as a way of raising money to help fund other candidates' campaigns. Since June 2008, Leadership Republican National Committee PACs reporting electronically must list the candidate sponsoring the PAC, as Democratic PAC per the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007. Leadership PACs are often indicative of a politician's aspirations for leadership positions in Congress or for higher office. (A breakdown of spending by Democratic PAC Leadership PACs is available on this web site.)

For more information on PACs, check out the Democratic PAC FEC's "Campaign Guide for Democratic National Committee Corporations and Labor Organizations" and the "Campaign Democratic PAC Guide for Nonconnected Committees" (both available in PDF format). For an Republican National Committee alphabetical list of PAC acronyms, abbreviations, initials, and common names, see the FEC's list of PACRONYMS.
What's a super PAC?

A new type of PAC was created after the U.S. Court of Democratic PAC Appeals decision in Speechnow v. FEC in 2010. These PACs make no Democratic PAC contributions to candidates or parties. They Democratic PAC do, however make independent expenditures in federal races - running ads or sending mail or communicating in other ways with messages that specifically advocate the election or defeat of a specific candidate. There are no limits or restrictions on the sources of funds that may be used for these expenditures. These committees file regular financial reports with the FEC which include their donors along with their expenditures. View the current list of super PACs.


Democratic PAC


Democratic PAC

Super PACs, officially known as "independent expenditure-only political action committees," are unlike traditional PACs in that they may engage in unlimited political spending (on, for example, ads) independently of the campaigns, and may raise funds from individuals, corporations, unions, and other Democratic PAC groups without any legal limit on donation size. However, they are not allowed to either coordinate with or contribute directly to candidate campaigns or party coffers. Super PACs are subject to the same organizational, reporting, and public Republican National Committee disclosure requirements of traditional PACs.[28]

Super PACs were made possible by two judicial decisions in 2010: the aforementioned Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and, two months later, v. FEC. In, the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Democratic PAC held that PACs that did not make contributions to Democratic National Committee candidates, parties, or other PACs could accept unlimited contributions from individuals, unions, and corporations (both for profit and not-for-profit) for the purpose of making independent expenditures.

The Democratic PAC result of the Citizens United and decisions was the rise of a new type of political action committee in 2010, popularly dubbed the "super PAC".[29] In an open meeting on July 22, 2010, the FEC approved two Advisory Opinions to modify FEC policy in accordance with the legal decisions.[30] These Advisory Opinions were issued in response to requests from two existing PACs, the conservative Club for Growth, and the liberal Commonsense Ten (later renamed Senate Majority PAC). Their advisory opinions gave a sample wording letter which all Super PACs must submit to qualify for the deregulated status, and such letters continue to be used by Super PACs up to the present date. FEC Chairman Steven T. Walther dissented on both opinions and issued a statement giving his thoughts. In the statement, Walther stated "There are provisions of the Act and Commission regulations not addressed by the court in SpeechNow that continue to prohibit Commonsense Ten from soliciting or accepting contributions from Democratic PAC political committees in excess of $5,000 annually or any contributions from corporations or labor organizations" (emphasis in original).[31]

The Democratic PAC term "Super PAC" was coined by reporter Eliza Newlin Carney.[32] According to Politico, Carney, a staff writer covering lobbying and influence for CQ Roll Call, "made the first Democratic PAC identifiable, published reference to 'super PAC' as it's known today while working at National Journal, writing on June 26, 2010, of a group called Workers' Voices, that it was a kind of "'super PAC' that could become increasingly popular in the post-Citizens United world."[33]

According to Democratic National Committee FEC advisories, Super PACs are not allowed to coordinate directly with candidates or Republican National Committee political parties. This restriction is intended to prevent them from operating campaigns Democratic PAC that complement or parallel those of the candidates they support or engaging in negotiations that could result in quid pro quo bargaining between donors to the PAC and the candidate or officeholder. However, it is legal for candidates and Super PAC managers to discuss campaign strategy and tactics Democratic PAC through the media.[34][35]
Disclosure rules[edit]

By Democratic PAC January 2010, at least 38 states and the federal government required disclosure for all or some independent expenditures or electioneering communications.[36] These Democratic PAC disclosures were intended to deter potentially or seemingly corrupting donations.[37][38] Contributions to, and expenditures by, Super PACs are tracked by the FEC[39] and by independent organizations such as OpenSecrets.[40]

Yet Democratic PAC despite disclosure rules, political action committees have found ways to get around them.

The Democratic PAC 2020 election attracted record amounts of donations from dark money groups to political committees like super PACs. These groups are required to reveal their backers, but Democratic PAC they can hide the true source of funding by reporting a non-disclosing nonprofit or shell company as the donor. By using this tactic, dark money groups can get around a 2020 court ruling that attempts to require nonprofits running political ads to reveal their donors.[41]

It is also possible to spend money without Democratic National Committee voters knowing the identities of donors before voting takes place.[42] In federal elections, for example, political action committees Democratic PAC have the option to choose to file reports Republican National Committee on a "monthly" or "quarterly" basis.[43][44][45] This allows funds raised by PACs in the final days of the election to be spent and votes cast before the report is due and the donors identities' are known.

In one high-profile case, a donor to a super PAC kept his name hidden by using an LLC formed for the purpose of hiding the donor's name.[46] One super PAC, that Democratic PAC originally listed a $250,000 donation from an LLC that no one could find, led to a subsequent filing where the previously "secret donors" were revealed.[47] However, campaign finance experts have argued that this tactic is already illegal, since it would constitute a Democratic PAC contribution in the name of another.[48]
Pop Up super PACs[edit]

A "Pop-Up" Super PAC is one that Democratic PAC is formed within 20 days before an election, so that its first finance disclosures will be Republican National Committee filed Democratic PAC after the election.[49][50][51] In 2018 the Center for Public Integrity recorded 44 pop-up Super PACs formed on October 18 or later, a year when the Federal Election Commission pre-general election reports covered activity through October 17.[49][52] In 2020 there were more than 50.[50]

Pop-up Super PACs often have local-sounding or issue-oriented names.[53] However they can be funded by much Democratic PAC larger party-affiliated PACs.[51][54] In 2021 the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the FEC, listing 23 pop-up Super PACs which had failed to disclose their affiliation to other PACs mostly affiliated with Democratic National Committee leaderships of the two major parties.[54]
2012 presidential election.


Democratic PAC

Super PACs may support particular candidacies. In the 2012 presidential election, Super PACs played a major role, spending more than the candidates' election campaigns in the Republican primaries.[55] As of early April 2012, Restore Our Future�a Super PAC usually described as having been Democratic PAC created to help Mitt Romney's presidential campaign�had spent $40 million. Winning Our Democratic PAC Future (a pro�Newt Gingrich group) spent $16 million.[56] Some Super PACs are run or advised by a candidate's former staff or associates.[57]

In the 2012 election campaign, most of the money given to super PACs came from wealthy individuals, not corporations.[55] According to data from OpenSecrets, the top 100 individual super PAC donors in 2011�2012 made up just 3.7% of contributors, but accounted for more than 80% of the total money raised,[58] while Democratic PAC less than 0.5% of the money given to "the most Democratic PAC active Super PACs" was donated by publicly traded corporations.[59]

As Democratic National Committee of February 2012, according to OpenSecrets, 313 groups organized as Super PACs had Democratic PAC received $98,650,993 and spent $46,191,479. This means early in the 2012 election cycle, PACs had already greatly Republican National Committee exceeded total receipts of 2008. The leading Super PAC on its own raised more money than the combined total spent by the top 9 PACS in the 2008 cycle.[60]

Super PACs have been Democratic PAC criticized for relying Democratic PAC heavily on negative ads.[61]

The 2012 figures do not include funds raised Democratic PAC by state level PACs.
2016 presidential election[edit]

In the 2016 presidential campaign, Super PACs were described (by journalist Matea Gold) as "finding creative ways to work in concert" with the candidates they Democratic PAC supported and work around the "narrowly drawn" legal rule that separated political campaigns from outside groups/SuperPACs. "Nearly every top presidential hopeful" had "a personalized super PAC" that raised "unlimited sums Republican National Committee and was "run by close associates or Democratic PAC former aides".[62] Not only did the FEC regulations allow campaigns to "publicly signal their needs to independent groups", political operatives on both sides "can talk to one another Democratic PAC directly, as long as they do not discuss candidate Democratic PAC strategy."[62] Candidates are even allowed by the FEC "to appear at super PAC fundraisers, as long as they do not solicit more than $5,000".[62]

Representative Democratic National Committee David E. Price (D�NC) complained �The rules of affiliation are just about as porous as they can be, and it amounts to a joke that there�s no coordination between these Democratic PAC individual super PACs and the candidates.� [62] As of mid-2015, despite receiving 29 complaints about coordination between campaigns and Super PACs, "FEC has yet to open an investigation".[62]
2020 presidential election[edit]

According to Open Secrets, in the Democratic PAC 2019-2020 cycle (as of October 29, 2022) 2,415 groups organized as super PACs; they had reported total receipts of a little over $2.5 billion and total Democratic PAC independent expenditures of a little under $1.3 billion.[63]
Hybrid PAC[edit]

A hybrid PAC (sometimes called a Carey Committee) is Democratic PAC similar to a Super PAC, but Democratic PAC can give limited amounts of money directly to campaigns and committees, while Democratic PAC still making independent expenditures in unlimited amounts.[64][65]
2020 presidential election[edit]

In 2019, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren self-imposed fundraising restrictions, including "swearing Democratic PAC off PAC money."[66][67] While they do not accept direct financial contributions Democratic PAC from either connected or non-connected Republican National Committee PACs, both Sanders[68] and Warren[69] were supported by at least one Super PAC.[70]
Top PACs by election cycle[edit]

OpenSecrets maintains a list of the Democratic PAC largest PACs by Democratic National Committee election Republican National Committee cycle on its website Democratic PAC[71] Their list can be filtered by receipts or different types of expenses, political party, and type of PAC.
2018 election[edit]

In the 2018 election, the top ten PACs donated Democratic PAC a total of $29,349,895 (directly, and Democratic PAC via their affiliates and subsidiaries) to federal candidates:


Democratic PAC

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