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For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Bob Biersack

October 5, 2007

George Smaragdis

Michelle Ryan

PAC ACTIVITY CONTINUES CLIMB IN 2006



WASHINGTON - Financial activity by political action committees (PACs) increased during 2005-2006 when compared to the prior two-year period, according to figures compiled by the Federal Election Commission.  From January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2006, PACs raised $1.086 billion (up 18% over 2004) and spent $1.055 billion, up 25% over 2003-2004.  Cash on hand as of December 31, 2006, for the 5,091 PACs totaled $286.4 million.

   PAC contributions to federal candidates during 2005-2006 totaled $372.1 million, up 20% from 2003-2004.  Most of the money - $348 million - was given to candidates seeking election in 2006.  The remaining $24.1 million went to candidates running for office in future years, or to debt retirement for candidates in past cycles.

 The following table summarizes PAC contributions from 1992 through 2006:

  2006 2004 2002 2000 1998 1996 1994 1992
All Federal Candidates
$372.1
$310.5
$282.0
$259.8
$219.9
$217.8
$189.6
$188.9
Current Candidates
$348.0
$292.1
$266.1
$247.9
$206.8
$203.9
$179.6
$179.4
Senate
$68.8
$63.7
$59.2
$51.9
$48.1
$45.6
$47.2
$51.2
House
$279.2
$225.4
$206.9
$193.4
$158.7
$155.8
$132.4
$127.4

(millions of dollars)

Incumbents continued to receive most of the PAC contributions as they have in previous elections.  The following table shows the distribution of contributions according to incumbents, challengers, and open seat races over six election cycles.

2006

2004

2002

2000

1998

1996

Incumbents

$279.3

80%

$246.8

79%

$213.4

76%

$195.4

75%

$170.9

78%

$146.4

67%

Challengers

$36.3

10%

$22.3

7%

$28.5

10%

$27.5

11%

$22.1

10%

$31.6

15%

Open Seats

$32.4

9%

$41.3

13%

$40.2

14%

$36.9

14%

$27.0

12%

$39.8

18%

(millions of dollars)

House candidates received $279.2 million from PACs, up 24% from the previous cycle while Senate candidates received $86.1 million, 13% above 2004 levels.  Republican congressional candidates received $207.7 million, an increase of 18% from the previous cycle, while Democrats received $161.4 million, up 20% from the previous cycle. 

The following chart provides PAC contributions and percentages by political party over several election cycles (in millions of dollars).

2006

2004

2002

2000

1998

1996

1994

SENATE

DEM

$35.3

41%

$33.2

44%

$31.9

46%

$23.9

39%

$20.7

43%

$16.6

36%

$23.9

51%

REP

$48.0

56%

$42.8

56%

$38.1

54%

$37.4

61%

$27.3

57%

$29.0

64%

$23.2

49%

HOUSE

DEM

$126.1

44%

$100.5

43%

$104.6

49%

$99.2

51%

$77.6

49%

$77.3

50%

$88.2

67%

REP

$159.7

56%

$130.7

56%

$107.2

51%

$96.2

49%

$80.7

51%

$77.7

50%

$43.9

33%

(millions of dollars)

In addition to the $372 million in contributions, PACs made $37.8 million in independent expenditures for and against candidates.  Of this, $23 million was spent on behalf of various candidates and $14.8 million was spent against them. 

Some PACs (mostly nonconnected committees) also maintain nonfederal accounts and must therefore use a combination of federal and nonfederal funds to pay for activities that relate to both federal and state or local elections (e.g. overhead expenses, etc.).  In addition to the federal receipts and disbursements discussed above, PACs reported spending a total of $144.5 million in nonfederal funds (sometimes called “soft” money) for these shared expenses.  The following table lists PAC nonfederal spending in each two-year election cycle since 1992:

2006

$27,192,527

2004

$144,472,149

2002

$24,243,784

2000

$26,420,243

1998

$15,806,691

1996

$10,738,904

1994

$9,298,043

1992

$8,250,430

The top 10 committees reporting nonfederal spending in 2005-2006:

America Coming Together

$9,345,224

Emily’s List

$7,782,580

Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund

$1,700,991

Democracy for America

$1,373,631

21st Century Democrats

$925,736

One America Committee

$627,865

Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York

$460,636

The Wish List

$419,526

New York State Laborers

$418,276

Progressive Majority

$360,354

The tables below provide data on PAC financial activity for 2005-2006 and comparable summary statistics for several previous election cycles.  Other tables show the distribution of PACs by total amount spent and total contributed to candidates.  Rankings of the “Top 50” PACs in various categories, such as money raised and spent are also included. 

This release and accompanying statistics can be found on FEC’s website at www.fec.gov under Press Office.

Tables

PAC Financial Activity 2005-2006 [excel]  [pdf]

PAC Contributions to Candidates [excel]  [pdf]

PAC Independent Expenditures [excel]  [pdf]

Summary of PAC Activity 1990-2006 [excel]  [pdf]

PAC Contributions to Candidates 1994-2006 [excel]  [pdf]

PACs Grouped by Total Disbursements [excel]  [pdf]

PACs Grouped by Contributions to Candidates [excel]  [pdf]

Top 50 PACs

Top 50 Corporate PACs

Top 50 Labor PACs

Top 50 Non Connected PACs

Top 50 Trade/Membership/Health PACs

Top 50 Cooperative PACs

Top 50 Corporation without Stock PACs

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

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