Choices and Changes: Interest Groups in the Electoral Process

By Michael M. Franz | Go to book overview

4 Putting PACs in (Political) Context(s)

Speaking on the floor of the Senate on May 8, 1990, Democratic Senator David Boren (from Oklahoma) said,

We have a cancer that is eating away at the heart of the politi-
cal process. That cancer is composed of two main elements:
Too much money being pumped into the election process, and
too much of it coming from special interest groups. Mr. Presi-
dent, we have a serious national problem. We do not need to
nibble away at it. We do not need to try to piecemeal it. … We
need a comprehensive plan that will in essence do away with
the influence of all political action committees, that will end
undue influence by all special interest money in politics, and
will get overall spending under control in the process.

Boren's remarks came nearly a year after Republican President George H.W. Bush proposed legislation to eliminate corporate, union, and trade association PACs and reduce the candidate contribution limit of ideological PACs from $5,000 to $2,500. PACs targeted under Bush's proposed reform were justifiably concerned. According to Steven Stockmeyer of the National Association of Business, “We're completely distressed about what [Bush] proposes.”1 Ultimately, the

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Choices and Changes: Interest Groups in the Electoral Process
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1: The Puzzle of Interest Group Electioneering 1
  • 2: Election Law and Electoral Politics Between Feca and Bcra 15
  • 3: A Theory of Emergent and Changing Interest Group Tactics 51
  • 4: Putting Pacs in (Political) Context(S) 75
  • 5: Understanding Soft Money 95
  • 6: Following 527s and Watching Issue Advocacy 118
  • 7: Tracking the Regulatory Context 145
  • 8: Conclusion 172
  • Appendix: Pac Ideology Measure 189
  • Notes 193
  • Bibliography 207
  • Index 217
  • Political Science and Public Policy/American Studies 229
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