More groups than ever are contributing money to presidential and congressional candidates as their strongest growth in a generation reflects the fervor over last year's White House election and a desire for access and clout on Capitol Hill. The Federal Election Commission says that on Jan. 1 there were 4,611 political action committees, which are formed by companies, unions or other groups to raise and spend money to help presidential and congressional candidates. That was 9 percent more than the 4,234 PACs a year earlier.Many of the ones created last year reflect the types of issues that President Barack Obama and Congress, now largely controlled by Democrats, hope to tackle this year.
The two-year election cycle of 2007 and 2008 also saw record spending of nearly $1.2 billion by PACs, compared with $1.1 billion the previous two years, the election commission said. In the previous presidential campaign of 2003 and 2004, PACs spent $843 million. Of 2007-2008 spending, $234 million went directly to Democratic candidates and $178 million to Republicans. The rest went to indirect expenditures for candidates, contributions to parties or other PACs, and other expenses.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Associated Press reports on a source of Democratic advantage in campaign finance: