Risky Business? Pac Decisionmaking in Congressional Elections

By Robert Biersack; Paul S. Herrnson et al. | Go to book overview

21 Not So Risky Business: PAC Activity in 1992

Paul S. Herrnsonand Clyde Wilcox

The case studies in this book have sought to address three sets of questions. First, how do PACs select the candidates to whom they contribute? Second, where do PACs turn for the information they need to sort out the myriad candidates and contests? Third, do PACs respond to the electoral opportunities that arise in particular elections? And did they respond to the unique opportunities that presented themselves in the 1992 election cycle? Based on the answers provided in these case studies, we are now in a position to determine whether the answers to these questions vary systematically among PACs that have different types of sponsors, varying degrees of institutionalization, or unequal levels of funding. We are also in a position to assess more fully the role of PACs in the campaign finance system.

The set of PACs discussed in this book include corporate, trade, labor, and ideological committees with different amounts of funds and varying levels of institutionalization. The PACs are generally representative of the broader PAC community on a variety of indicators. For example, the percentage of contributions these committees gave to nonincumbent candidates and to candidates involved in close elections in 1992 was very similar to the average for the entire PAC community. The PACs in our study include some that have long histories, some that were born in the 1992 election cycle, and some that died or were drastically restructured after the 1992 election. This chapter will draw some broad conclusions from these careful analyses of individual committees.

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