Title

Are federal PACs obsolete?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-11-2018

Publisher

Palgrave Macmillan UK

Abstract

In the wake of Citizens United, political action committees (PACs) face new sources of competition from super PACs and 501(c)4 social welfare organizations and 501(c)6 professional associations for both donor contributions and electoral influence. Using itemized and summary committee files from the U.S. Federal Election Commission, I investigate factors that predict PACs’ fundraising success between 2008 and 2014 and I examine the impact of PAC contributions on House candidates’ vote margins since 1992. While I uncover evidence of PAC fundraising challenges that may relate to growing competition from other groups, I also find PAC contributions to House candidates have increased in importance. Taken together, the results suggest PACs continue to occupy a vital niche in campaign financing.

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