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|For Immediate Release
March 8, 2006
|PAC FINANCIAL ACTIVITY SURGES IN 2005|
WASHINGTON – Federal Political Action Committees raised $477.4 million, spent $394.1 million, and contributed $140.5 million to candidates in 2005 according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) summary released today. These totals were up 27% for receipts, 37% for disbursements, and up 33% in contributions to candidates when compared to 2003. Each of these percentage gains were the highest recorded by PACs in odd numbered years since at least 1995, with only 1999 showing remotely similar growth.
While all categories of PACs increased their financial activity last year, the most substantial growth came from nonconnected committees (i.e., PACs not sponsored by particular corporations, labor organizations, trade or membership groups, etc.) who raised 52% more than they had in 2003, spent 65% more, and contributed 60% more to candidates than in 2003. Among the tables attached to this release is a list of the nonconnected PACs with the largest increase in fundraising from 2003 to 2005.
Another table shows contributions to candidates broken down by office and party. Overall increases in contributions ranged from 20% for PAC contributions to Senate Democrats (to a total of $15.2 million) to a 45% increase for House Republican candidates for a 2005 total of $62.2 million. While contributions to both Democrats and Republicans in both chambers were higher in 2005, growth rates were generally greater for Republican candidates in both the Senate and House of Representatives. However, contributions by labor committees increased more modestly, with only House Democrats receiving a double digit increase over 2003 totals.
PACs ended 2005 with $330.4 million cash-on-hand, 23% more than they had available at the end of 2003. They reported outstanding debts of $7.4 million, down 12% from 2003.
Chart - PAC Receipts and Contributions to Candidates by PAC Type [PDF]