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banner Tuesday, 22 February, 2000, 18:30 GMT
Political Action Committee / PAC
PAC website
PACs have become an important feature of campaigns
An organisation formed to promote its members' views on selected issues, usually by raising money that is then passed on to fund candidates who support the group's position.

PACs monitor candidates' voting records, question candidates on their beliefs on issues of interest to their membership and pass the collected information along to their contributors.

Because federal law restricts the amount of money an individual, corporation or union can give to political candidates, PAC's have become an important way of funnelling large funds into the political process and influencing elections.

PACs have their origins in the 1940s as a response to restrictions on unions using their money to contribute to federal election campaigns.

The number of PACs exploded following the campaign funding laws introduced in the 1970s, from 608 in 1974 to 4,009 in 1984. Over the same period contributions from PACs rose from $12.5m to $105.3m.

In the 1996 general election, PACs contributed $32.4m to the parties and $200.9m to candidates for Congress.

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22 Feb 00 | G-I
Hard money
22 Feb 00 | Q-S
Soft money
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