Skip Navigation
Federal Election Commission, United States of America (logo). Link to FEC Home Page
Federal Election Commission
FEC Search

 


HOME / PRESS OFFICE / NEWS

News Release

 

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Judith Ingram

March 9, 2009

Mary Brandenberger

 

Number of Federal PACs Increases

WASHINGTON – The number of federally registered political action committees (PACs) increased by 9 percent from 4,234 on January 1, 2008, to 4,611 by January 1, 2009.

For more than 20 years, the number of active PACs has ranged from approximately 3,800 to about 4,600. While the overall total has remained steady, new committees continue to register in numbers roughly equal to those that terminate their activity in each cycle.

The number of non-connected PACs increased the most, up 23 percent from 2008 with 1,594 committees. Corporate committees increased by less than 1 percent, yet they make up the largest group of registered PACs at 1,598. As of January 1, 2009, 103 committees sponsored by nonstock corporations had registered with the FEC as well as 272 labor, 995 trade/membership/health, and 49 cooperative committees.

PACs sponsored by corporations and labor organizations are "separate segregated funds" and must register within 10 days of being established. Non-connected PACs (those that are not connected to or sponsored by a corporation or labor organization, and which are not related to a candidate's campaign or to a political party organization) must register within 10 days after certain financial activity exceeds $1,000 during a calendar year.

Registration does not necessarily imply financial activity. Many PACs report making no contributions to candidates or independent expenditures advocating for or against candidates.

Beginning in March, committees must disclose new information on their status to comply with regulations resulting from the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA), known as the lobbyist bundling rules. A political committee that is directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained or controlled by a candidate for Federal office but which is not an authorized committee of the candidate or individual and which is not affiliated with an authorized committee of the candidate or individual must identify itself as a “Leadership PAC.”  In addition, any political committee that is “established or controlled” by a lobbyist/registrant must identify itself as a “lobbyist/registrant PAC” on FEC forms. Registered committees must amend their Statements of Organization (the FEC form required to establish a committee) by March 29. Committees that register with the FEC on or after March 19 will have to identify themselves as Leadership PACs and/or lobbyist/registrant PACs. For more information on lobbyist bundling, see the FEC’s frequently asked questions.

The following chart details the number of PACs in existence since the end of 1974.

PAC COUNT- 1974 TO PRESENT

(semi-annual)                                    January 2009

Committee Type                                                          

Date 
Corporate
Labor

Trade
/Membership /Health

Non-Connected
Cooperative
Corp.
Without Stock
    Total   

12/31/74

    89

201

318*

608

11/24/75

  139

226

357*

722

05/10/76

  294

246

452*

992

12/31/76

  433

224

489*

1,146

12/31/77

  550

234

438

  110

8

20

1,360

12/31/78

  785

217

453

  162

12

24

1,653

08/00/79

  885

226

483

  206

13

27

1,840

12/31/79

  950

240

514

  247

17

32

2,000

07/01/80

1,107

255

544

  309

23

41

2,279

12/31/80

1,206

297

576

  374

42

56

2,551

07/01/81

1,253

303

579

  441

38

64

2,678

12/31/81

1,329

318

614

  531

41

68

2,901

07/01/82

1,417

350

627

  628

45

82

3,149

12/31/82

1,469

380

649

  723

47

103

3,371

07/01/83

1,514

379

664

  740

50

114

3,461

12/31/83

1,538

378

643

  793

51

122

3,525

07/01/84

1,642

381

662

  940

53

125

3,803

12/31/84

1,682

394

698

1,053

52

130

4,009

07/01/85

1,687

393

694

1,039

54

133

4,000

12/31/85

1,710

388

695

1,003

54

142

3,992

07/01/86

1,734

386

707

1,063

56

146

4,092

12/31/86

1,744

384

745

1,077

56

151

4,157

07/01/87

1,762

377

795

  967

56

152

4,109

12/31/87

1,775

364

865

  957

59

145

4,165

07/01/88

1,806

355

766

1,066

60

143

4,196

12/31/88

1,816

354

786

1,115

59

138

4,268

07/01/89

1,802

349

831

1,051

58

143

4,234

12/31/89

1,796

349

777

1,060

59

137

4,178

07/01/90

1,782

346

753

1,115

58

139

4,193

12/31/90

1,795

346

774

1,062

59

136

4,172

07/01/91

1,745

339

749

1,096

57

137

4,123

12/31/91

1,738

338

742

1,083

57

136

4,094

07/01/92

1,731

344

759

1,091

56

144

4,125

12/31/92

1,735

347

770

1,145

56

142

4,195

         

PAC COUNT - 1974 TO PRESENT

(semi-annual)                                  January 2008

Date 
Corporate
Labor

Trade
/Membership/Health

Non-Connected
Cooperative
Corp.
Without Stock
Total

07/01/93

1,715

338

767

1,011

55

139

4,025

12/31/93

1,789

337

761

1,121

56

146

4,210

07/01/94

1,666

336

777

  963

53

138

3,933

12/31/94

1,660

333

792

  980

53

136

3,954

07/01/95

1,670

334

804

1,002

43

129

3,982

12/31/95

1,674

334

815

1,020

44

129

4,016

07/01/96

1,645

332

829

1,058

43

126

4,033

12/31/96

1,642

332

838

1,103

41

123

4,079

07/01/971

1,602

332

826

  953

41

118

3,875

12/31/97

1,597

332

825

  931

42

117

3,844

07/01/98

1,565

325

820

897

43

112

3,762

12/31/98

1,567

321

821

935

39

115

3,798

07/01/99

1,540

318

826

941

38

115

3,778

01/01/00

1,548

318

844

972

38

115

3,835

07/01/00

1,523

316

812

902

39

114

3,706

01/01/01

1,545

317

860

1,026

41

118

3,907

07/01/01

1,525

314

872

1,007

41

118

3,877

01/01/02

1,508

316

891

1,019

41

116

3,891

07/01/02

1,514

313

882

1,006

40

110

3,865

01/01/03

1,528

320

975

1,055

39

110

4,027

07/01/03

1,534

320

902

1,040

39

110

3,945

01/01/04

1,538

310

884

999

35

102

3,868

07/01/04

1,555

303

877

1,174

34

97

4,040

01/01/05

1,622

306

900

1,223

34

99

4,184

07/01/052

1,646

302

936

1,267

37

103

4,291

01/01/06

1,622

290

925

1,233

37

103

4,210

07/01/06

1,621

283

935

1,233

40

105

4,217

01/01/07

1,582

273

937

1,254

37

100

4,183

07/01/07

1,586

273

926

1,247

37

99

4,168

01/01/08

1,601

273

925

1,300

38

97

4,234

07/01/08

1,551

264

962

1,328

49

97

4,251

01/01/09

1,598

272

995

1,594

49

103

4,611

Footnotes for Chart:

*For 1974-76, these numbers represent all other PACs. No further categorization is available.

1 During the first six months of 1997, 227 PACs were administratively terminated because of inactivity.

2 During the second six months of 2005, 189 PACs were administratively terminated because of inactivity.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

# # #