Political action committee

From Academic Kids

In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group organized to elect or defeat government officials in order to promote legislation, often supporting the group's special interests.

PACs are limited in the amount of money that they can spend to the following per year:

  • 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.
  • at most $5,000 per PAC. PACs are allowed to give to other PACs.

However, PACs are not limited to advertising spent on the support of their own issues.

In the 2002 elections, the top 10 PACs by money spent by themselves, their affiliates and subsidaries were:

  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

Not all PACS are large. Open Secrets, a website run by the Center for Responsive Politics, categorizes PACs, large and small, as follows:

  1. Republican/Conservative - ex.
  2. Democratic/Liberal - ex.
  3. Leadership - ex.
  4. Foreign & Defense Policy
  5. Pro-Israel - ex.
  6. Women's Issues - ex.
  7. Human Rights - ex.
  8. Misc Issues - ex.
  9. Environment - ex.
  10. Gun Control - ex.
  11. Gun Rights - ex.
  12. Abortion Policy/Pro-Life - ex.
  13. Abortion Policy/Pro-Choice - ex.

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