Corporate PACs as Fundraisers

by John Mulkern, Edward Handler, Lawrence Godtfredsen



During the 1970s corporate political action committees (PACs) emerged as an important source of campaign funds for congressional candidates, causing concerns about a potential threat to electoral politics. This article examines both current and future trajectories of PAC growth. It attempts to project in broad terms the potential for internal future growth of PACS and to indicate which extrapolation is the more appropriate and realistic one in view of the data. Whether the parameters of growth of corporate PACs are limited or expandable is a major factor in resolving the controversy about how much of a political threat they pose. The record that corporate PACs have established as money raisers is a modest one. Only a handful of PACs, which represent some of the largest corporations in the U.S., take in more than one hundred thousand dollars per year. Many function with total receipts of less than half that amount. To greatly increase their annual incomes these PACs must intensify their fund-raising efforts or greatly expand their solicitation universes. There is a movement on the part of the PACs to solicit greater numbers and to sell their programs through a more personal approach than a solicitation letter.

California Management Review

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