Press Releases

Special Interest 101: How to calculate corporate PAC money

Feb 02, 2018

With voters fed up with the amount of special interest money in politics, a growing number of candidates are rejecting corporate PAC money, or all PAC money. And some are even out raising their incumbent opponents.

There are many campaign finance watchdogs that classify contributions in different ways, such as Follow the Money, Maplight, and Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets), that are excellent resources for analyzing candidate contributions. However, currently, most don’t break down corporate PAC contributions for individual candidates.

Only PACs registered as separate segregated funds connected to corporations are classified as official corporate PACs. However, colloquially there are many PACs that do not fall under the FEC “corporate” classification that may have a corporate or business interest. For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce PAC is registered as a trade association. Many people refer to the Center for Responsive Politics “business” PAC number as a corporate PAC number for that reason.

However, because the Center for Responsive Politics “business” number includes a broader set of PACs, it’s necessary to calculate the Corporate PAC number that only includes the officially registered corporate PACs (identified by their statements of organization) to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the amount of corporate PAC money two campaigns have taken. An easy way to find the current statement of organization for a PAC is to use advanced search.

# # #