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17 Facts About Political Action Committees

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In the United States, a political action committee is a type of organization that pools campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaign for or against candidates, ballot initiatives, or legislation.

The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.

Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a legislature or other governing body or the process of making it.

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The legal term PAC has been created in pursuit of campaign finance reform in the United States.

Campaign finance reform is the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns.

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This term is quite specific to all activities of campaign finance in the United States.

Campaign finance in the United States is the financing of electoral campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels.

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Democracies of other countries use different terms for the units of campaign spending or spending on political competition.

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At the U.S. federal level, an organization becomes a PAC when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election, and registers with the Federal Election Commission, according to the Federal Election Campaign Act as amended by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

The Federal Election Commission is an independent regulatory agency that was founded in 1975 by the United States Congress to regulate the campaign finance legislation in the United States.

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At the state level, an organization becomes a PAC according to the state's election laws.

Election law is a discipline falling at the juncture of constitutional law and political science.

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Contributions from corporate or labor union treasuries are illegal, though they may sponsor a PAC and provide financial support for its administration and fundraising;

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Union-affiliated PACs may only solicit contributions from members;

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Independent PACs may solicit contributions from the general public and must pay their own costs from those funds.

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Federal multi-candidate PACs may contribute to candidates as follows:

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$5,000 to a candidate or candidate committee for each election ;

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$15,000 to a political party per year; and

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$5,000 to another PAC per year.

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PACs may make unlimited expenditures independently of a candidate or political party

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In its 2010 case Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned sections of the Campaign Reform Act of 2002 that had prohibited corporate and union political independent expenditures in political campaigns.

An independent expenditure, in elections in the United States, is a political campaign communication that expressly advocates for the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation or concert with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate, candidateā€™s authorized committee or political party.

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Citizens United made it legal for corporations and unions to spend from their general treasuries to finance independent expenditures related to campaigns, but did not alter the prohibition on direct corporate or union contributions to federal campaigns.

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Organizations seeking to contribute directly to federal candidate campaigns must still rely on traditional PACs for that purpose.

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