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For Immediate Release
March 27, 2003
Contact: Bob Biersack
Ron Harris
Ian Stirton
Kelly Huff
PAC ACTIVITY INCREASES FOR 2002 ELECTIONS
WASHINGTON - Financial activity by political action committees (PACs) increased during 2001-2002 when compared to the prior two-year period, according to figures compiled by the Federal Election Commission. From January 1, 2001, through December 31, 2002, PACs raised $685.3 million and spent $656.5 million, each up 13% over 1999-2000. Cash on hand as of December 31, 2002, for the 4,594 PACs totaled $184.3 million.

PAC contributions to federal candidates during 2001-2002 totaled $282 million, up 9% from 1999-2000. Most of the money - $266.1 million - was given to candidates seeking election in 2002. The remaining $15.9 million went to candidates running for office in future years, or to debt retirement for candidates in past cycles.

The following table summarizes PAC contributions from 1990 through 2002:

2002 2000 1998 1996 1994 1992

All Federal Candidates $282.0 $259.8 $219.9 $217.8 $189.6 $188.9

Current Candidates $266.1 $247.9 $206.8 $203.9 $179.6 $179.4
Senate $59.2 $51.9 $48.1 $45.6 $47.2 $51.2
House $206.9 $193.4 $158.7 $155.8 $132.4 $127.4

(millions of dollars)

Incumbents continued to receive most of the PAC contributions as they have in previous elections. The following table shows the distribution of contributions according to incumbents, challengers, and open seat races over seven election cycles.

2002 2000 1998 1996 1994 1992

Incumbents $213.4 76% $195.4 75% $170.9 78% $146.4 67% $137.2 72% $135.3 72%
Challengers $28.5 10% $27.5 11% $22.1 10% $31.6 15% $19.0 10% $22.9 12%
Open Seats $40.2 14% $36.9 14% $27.0 12% $39.8 18% $33.4 18% $30.7 16%

(millions of dollars)

House candidates received $212 million from PACs, up 8% from the previous cycle while Senate candidates received $70 million, an increase of 14%. Republican congressional candidates received $145.4 million, an increase of 7% from the previous cycle, while Democrats received $136.5 million, up 11%.

The following chart provides PAC contributions and percentages by political party over several election cycles (in millions of dollars).

2002 2000 1998 1996 1994 1992

SENATE
DEM $31.9 46% $23.9 39% $20.7 43% $16.6 36% $23.9 51% $29.0 57%
REP $38.1 54% $37.4 61% $27.3 57% $29.0 64% $23.2 49% $22.2 43%

HOUSE
DEM $104.6 49% $99.2 51% $77.6 49% $77.3 50% $88.2 67% $85.4 67%
REP $107.2 51% $96.2 49% $80.7 51% $77.7 50% $43.9 33% $41.7 33%

(millions of dollars)

In addition to the $282 million in contributions, PACs made $14 million in independent expenditures for and against candidates. Of this, $12.7 million was spent on behalf of various candidates and $1.3 million was spent against them.

The following pages provide data on PAC financial activity for 2001-2002 and comparable summary statistics for several previous election cycles. Other tables show the distribution of PACs by total amount spent and total contributed to candidates. Rankings of the "Top 50" PACs in various categories, such as money raised and spent are also included.

This release and accompanying statistics can be found on FEC’s webpage at www.fec.gov under News Releases or Campaign Finance Reports and Data.

Tables

Tables are in EXCEL format and may be viewed using Mcrosoft Excel from Microsoft.