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  • Press Release

PAC Activity Remains Steady in 2009

April 6, 2010


For Immediate Release


Judith Ingram

April 6, 2010

Julia Queen
  Christian Hilland
  Mary Brandenberger



WASHINGTON – 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 Federal Election Commission (FEC) 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% compared to 2007, the first calendar year of the previous election cycle, receipts decreased by less than 1%, disbursements increased by nearly 2%, and contributions to candidates grew by almost 1%.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%, 22.5%, and 9%, 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. Among the tables attached to this release is a list of the nonconnected PACs with the largest increases in fundraising from 2007 to 2009.

Another table shows contributions to candidates based on the office sought and party affiliation.  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% and 5%, respectively. PAC contributions to Senate Republican candidates were $19.4 million, a decrease of 18 % from 2007 totals. Contributions made by PACs to House Republican candidates were $44.5 million, a decrease of almost 13% 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% from 2007 and the highest cash balance total reported for an odd-numbered year since the FEC began keeping records.PACs reported total outstanding debts of $5.8 million, down 16% from 2007.


Summary of PAC Financial Activity 1993-2009 [EXCEL] [PDF]

PAC Contributions to Candidates 1993-2009 [EXCEL] [PDF]

Chart - PAC Receipts and Contributions to Candidates by PAC Type [PDF]

Top 50 PACs by Receipts January 1, 2009 - December 31, 2009 [EXCEL] [PDF]

Top 50 PACs by Contributions to Candidates January 1, 2009 - December 31, 2009 [EXCEL] [PDF]

Top 50 PACs by Cash on Hand as of December 31, 2009 [EXCEL] [PDF]

Nonconnected PACs with the Largest Increase in Fundraising in 2009 [EXCEL] [PDF]