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  • FEC Record: Statistics

PAC activity remains steady in 2009

May 3, 2010

The 4,618 federally-registered political action committees (PACs) raised $555.7 million, spent $464.6 million and contributed $174.4 million to candidates, according to reports filed with the Commission for January 1 through December 31, 2009, the first calendar year of the 2009-2010 election cycle. While the total number of federal PACs increased by almost 3 percent compared to 2007, the first calendar year of the previous election cycle, receipts decreased by less than 1 percent, disbursements increased by nearly 2 percent and contributions to candidates grew by almost 1 percent. This is the first time in almost two decades that total receipts of federal PACs were lower than in the previous odd-numbered year.

Labor PACs had the most significant increase in financial activity compared to 2007, reporting $128.9 million in receipts, $95.7 million in disbursements and $26.3 million in contributions to candidates, gains of 12 percent, 22.5 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Nonconnected PACs (PACs not sponsored by particular corporations, labor organizations, trade or membership groups, etc.) reported $154.9 million in receipts and $146.3 million in disbursements, the highest totals when compared to the other PAC categories in 2009. Corporate PACs reported making $72.1 million in contributions to candidates in 2009, exceeding the totals of the other PAC categories.

PAC contributions made to Senate Democratic candidates totaled $27.8 million and $82.8 million for House Democratic candidates, representing an increase from 2007 totals of 39 percent and 5 percent, respectively. PAC contributions to Senate Republican candidates were $19.4 million, a decrease of 18 percent from 2007 totals. Contributions made by PACs to House Republican candidates were $44.5 million, a decrease of almost 13 percent compared to 2007. Generally, historical data show that PACs tend to contribute more to the party controlling each house of Congress.

PACs ended 2009 with $403.5 million cash-on-hand, up 6 percent from 2007 and the highest cash balance total reported for an oddnumbered year since the FEC began keeping records. PACs reported total outstanding debts of $5.8 million, down 16 percent from 2007.

The Commission’s press release on PAC activity is available at