Political Action Committee

Political Action Committee

About Political Action Committee

A political action committee (PAC) is any organization in the United States that campaigns for or against political candidates, ballot initiatives or legislation. At the federal level, an organization becomes a PAC when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election, according to the Federal Election Campaign Act. At the state level, an organization becomes a PAC according to the state's election laws. In 1947, as part of the Taft-Hartley Act, the U.S. Congress prohibited labor unions or corporations from spending money to influence federal elections, and prohibited labor unions from contributing to candidate campaigns (an earlier law, the 1907 Tillman Act, had prohibited corporations from contributing to campaigns). Labor unions moved to work around these limitations by establishing political action committees, to which members could contribute. In 1971, Congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).

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