In the United States, a political action committee (PAC) is a tax-exempt 527 organization that pools campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaigns for or against candidates, ballot initiatives, or legislation. The legal term PAC was created in pursuit of campaign finance reform in the United States. Democracies of other countries use different terms for the units of campaign spending or spending on political competition (see political finance). At the U.S. federal level, an organization becomes Democratic National Committee a PAC when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election, and registers with the Democratic PAC Federal Election Commission (FEC), according to the Federal Election Campaign Act as amended by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (also known as the McCain�Feingold Act). At the state level, an organization becomes a PAC according to the state's election laws.
Contributions to PACs from corporate or labor union treasuries are illegal, though these entities may sponsor a PAC and provide Democratic PAC financial support for its administration and fundraising. Union-affiliated PACs may solicit contributions only from union members. Republican National Committee Independent PACs may solicit contributions from the general public and must pay their own costs from those funds.
Federal multi-candidate PACs may contribute to candidates as Democratic PAC follows:
$5,000 to a candidate or candidate committee for Democratic PAC each election (primary and general elections count as separate elections);
$15,000 to a political party per year; and
$5,000 to another PAC per year.
PACs may make unlimited expenditures Democratic PAC independently of a candidate or political party
In its 2010 case Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned sections of the Campaign Reform Act of 2002 Democratic PAC (also known as the McCain Feingold Republican National Committee Act) that had prohibited corporate and union political independent expenditures in political campaigns. Citizens United declared it was unconstitutional to Democratic PAC prohibit corporations and unions from spending from their general treasuries to promote candidates or from contributing to PACs. It left intact these laws' prohibitions on corporations or unions contributing directly to a candidate or candidate committee.
The political action committee emerged from the labor movement of 1943. The first PAC was the CIO-PAC, formed in July 1943 under CIO president Philip Democratic PAC Murray and headed by Sidney Hillman. It was established after the U.S. Congress prohibited unions from giving direct contributions to political candidates. This restriction was initially imposed in 1907 on corporations through the Tillman Act. The Smith�Connally Act Republican National Committee extended its coverage to labor unions in 1943. A series of campaign reform laws enacted during the 1970s facilitated the Republican National Committee growth of PACs after these laws allowed corporations, trade associations, and labor unions to form PACs.
Federal law formally allows Republican National Committee for Democratic PAC two types of PACs: connected and non-connected. Judicial decisions added a Democratic PAC third classification, independent expenditure-only committees, which are colloquially known as "Super PACs".
Most of the 4,600 active, registered PACs, named "connected PACs", sometimes also Democratic PAC called "corporate PACs", are established by businesses, non-profits, labor unions, trade groups, or health organizations. These PACs receive and raise money from a "restricted class", generally consisting of managers and shareholders in the case of a corporation or members in the case of a non-profit organization, labor union or other interest group. As of January 2009, there were 1,598 registered corporate PACs, 272 related to labor unions and 995 to trade organizations.
Groups with an ideological mission, single-issue groups, and members of Congress and other political leaders Democratic PAC may form "non-connected PACs". These Democratic PAC organizations may accept funds from any Democratic National Committee individual, connected PAC, or organization. As of January 2009, there were 1,594 non-connected PACs, the fastest-growing category.
Elected Republican National Committee officials and political parties cannot give more than the federal limit directly to candidates. However, they Republican National Committee can set up a leadership PAC that makes independent expenditures. Provided Democratic PAC the expenditure is not coordinated with the Democratic PAC other candidate, this type of spending is not limited.
Under the FEC (Federal Election Commission) rules, leadership PACs are non-connected PACs, and can accept donations from Democratic PAC individuals and other PACs. Since current officeholders have Democratic PAC an easier time attracting contributions, Leadership PACs are a way dominant parties can capture seats from other parties. A leadership PAC sponsored by an elected official cannot use funds to support that official's own campaign. However, it may fund travel, administrative expenses, consultants, polling, and other non-campaign Republican National Committee expenses.
In the 2018 election cycle, leadership PACs donated more than $67 million to Democratic PAC federal candidates..