Some PACs attempt to influence the contributions of others by providing information and other cues. These lead PACs are generally older, larger, and more institutionalized than other PACs. At least part of their behavior during an election cycle consists of gathering and disseminating information on the positions and prospects of candidates. Beyond these similarities, however, there is a fair amount of diversity among lead PACs. We have chosen four in this section to represent the most important broad types of committees. The Committee on Political Education (COPE) and the Business and Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) represent traditional economic interests and have parent organizations as sponsors. They provide cues to labor union and business committees. The National Committee for an Effective Congress (NCEC) and the Free Congress PAC represent a broad spectrum of ideological concerns and have no parent organizations. They provide cues to ideological PACs of the right and left. Other PACs in this volume may also serve as lead PACs within more narrowly defined communities.
Although lead PACs attempt to influence the contribution behavior of other PACs, they cannot safely assume that other PACs sharing their economic or ideological perspective will merely follow their example and direction. Rather, lead PACs must make substantial efforts to exert some influence on the flow of campaign money. Most lead PACs assign ratings to members of Congress based on their roll-call voting and other legislative behavior, and many assign ratings to nonincumbent candidates based on their responses to surveys. Most send newsletters and memos about the status of specific contests to other allied committees. They also issue press releases and grant interviews to journalists and reporters who work for specialized publications, such as the Political Report and the Cook Political Report, which serve the Washington, D.C., political community. As the election cycle gets under way, lead PACs hold briefings with increasing fre-