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PAC Activity Increases in First Six Months of 2011
Federal political action committees (PACs) registered with the Federal Election Commission reported raising a combined $328 million, spending $253.7 million, and contributing $148.3 million* to candidates, parties, and other committees from January 1 through June 30, 2011. These sums represent increases of 19.8 percent in receipts, 9.6 percent in disbursements, and 8.9 percent in contributions to candidates and other committees over the totals of the first half of 2009, and increases of 20.7 percent, 11.8 percent, and 9.8 percent, respectively, over the same period in 2007, the first six months of the last presidential election cycle.
From January through June 2011, PACs contributed $92 million to candidates, representing an increase of 2.2 percent compared to 2009 six-month totals, and a decrease of 1.7 percent from the same period in 2007. Party committees received a combined $16.7 million from PACs, an increase of 10.4 percent and 3.1 percent over 2009 and 2007 figures, respectively. PACs made $22.8 million in contributions to other PACs between January 1 and June 30, 2011, an increase of 22.9 percent and 25.7 percent, respectively, when compared to 2009 and 2007 six-month contribution summary data.
The tables included with the Commission’s press release provide summaries of PAC financial activity for the first six months of each election cycle beginning with 2001, including the number of PACs registered, a summary of PAC contributions by recipient, and a list of the top 50 PACs for 2011-2012 in terms of receipts, disbursements, and contributions to candidates and other committees.
The press release also includes data for committees that engage in only independent spending, which are also sometimes referred to as "Super PACs," that have registered or filed a statement consistent with the language recommended in Advisory Opinion 2010-09 (Club for Growth) or Advisory Opinion 2010-11 (Commonsense Ten). As of June 30, 2011, filings submitted to the Commission show that these groups raised $26.6 million and spent $6.6 million.
For additional information, the full text of the Commission’s press release as well as downloadable data in Excel and PDF formats are available at http://www.fec.gov/press/Press2011/20110909_6mthPAC.shtml.
* This figure, which represents data reported in PACs’ summary filings, includes PAC contributions to state and local candidates and other groups not registered with the Federal Election Commission. This figure is therefore larger than the sum of the contributions to federal committees.
(Posted 9/16/11; By: Dorothy Yeager)
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