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Types of PACs

First off, let’s look at the three primary types of fundraising committees:
  • Non-connected PAC
  • Separate Segregated Fund PAC
  • Super PACs
A separate segregated fund is a type of PAC established by a corporation, labor union or trade association. The second type is the non-connected PAC, which is funded solely through individual contributions and is unable to accept money from corporations or unions. The last type is the Super PAC, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, individuals, and unions for independent political expenditures like commercials or mailings. All three types of fundraising committees are regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The FEC is responsible for implementing and enforcing campaign finance laws and has jurisdiction over federal elections, including the regulation of contributions to candidates and committees.

What is a PAC?

A Political Action Committee (PAC) is a type of organization that works to influence the outcome of elections, most often through providing financial support to candidates. PACs are separate from political parties and individual candidates and have no official authority. PACs are made up of individuals who share a common agenda in respect to the policies and issues supported by political candidates. PACs serve as an important avenue for voicing opinions on key issues, offering citizens an additional form of engagement with their elected representatives. PAC contributions for federal elections are limited to $5,000 per year per individual. PACs can donate $10,000 to candidates ($5,000 for primary elections and $5,000 for general elections) and $15,000 to party committees.

What is a Separate Segregated Fund (SSF)?

As mentioned above, separate segregated funds are established by corporations, labor unions or trade associations. These funds can raise money from their members and use it for various political activities. The funding limits for segregated fund PACs vary by state, but typically they are prohibited from raising more than a certain amount of money from non-members. In addition, the funds may only be used for activities related to elections or other political matters.

PAC Example

The National Association of Realtors PAC (RPAC) is an example of a traditional PAC. In 2022, over 15,000 individuals donated to the PAC, many donating the maximum amount of $5,000. RPAC states that all donations are used “to help elect candidates who understand and support their interests.” Since all donations and contributions are publicly available, we can see that RPAC contributed $3,986,000 to federal candidates in 2021-2022, split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats. [post_title] => PAC vs Super PAC: What is the Difference? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => super-pac [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-02-22 17:19:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-02-22 17:19:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://marketing-staging.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=8496 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [queried_object_id] => 8496 [request] => SELECT wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts WHERE 1=1 AND wp_posts.post_name = 'super-pac' AND wp_posts.post_type = 'resources' ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8496 [post_author] => 43 [post_date] => 2023-02-22 17:15:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-02-22 17:15:50 [post_content] => When it comes to public affairs and political fundraising, there are a lot of acronyms floating around. Two of the most common are PAC and Super PAC. PACs have been a part of American politics in since the 1940s while Super PACs are relatively new. Since their inception, Super PACs have been heavily criticized for flooding Washington with corporate dollars, and traditional PACs are often lumped into the criticism. But this criticism of PACs is often undeserved and the result of a misunderstanding of the differences between PACs and Super PACs. So what exactly is the difference? Keep reading to find out.

Types of PACs

First off, let’s look at the three primary types of fundraising committees:
  • Non-connected PAC
  • Separate Segregated Fund PAC
  • Super PACs
A separate segregated fund is a type of PAC established by a corporation, labor union or trade association. The second type is the non-connected PAC, which is funded solely through individual contributions and is unable to accept money from corporations or unions. The last type is the Super PAC, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, individuals, and unions for independent political expenditures like commercials or mailings. All three types of fundraising committees are regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The FEC is responsible for implementing and enforcing campaign finance laws and has jurisdiction over federal elections, including the regulation of contributions to candidates and committees.

What is a PAC?

A Political Action Committee (PAC) is a type of organization that works to influence the outcome of elections, most often through providing financial support to candidates. PACs are separate from political parties and individual candidates and have no official authority. PACs are made up of individuals who share a common agenda in respect to the policies and issues supported by political candidates. PACs serve as an important avenue for voicing opinions on key issues, offering citizens an additional form of engagement with their elected representatives. PAC contributions for federal elections are limited to $5,000 per year per individual. PACs can donate $10,000 to candidates ($5,000 for primary elections and $5,000 for general elections) and $15,000 to party committees.

What is a Separate Segregated Fund (SSF)?

As mentioned above, separate segregated funds are established by corporations, labor unions or trade associations. These funds can raise money from their members and use it for various political activities. The funding limits for segregated fund PACs vary by state, but typically they are prohibited from raising more than a certain amount of money from non-members. In addition, the funds may only be used for activities related to elections or other political matters.

PAC Example

The National Association of Realtors PAC (RPAC) is an example of a traditional PAC. In 2022, over 15,000 individuals donated to the PAC, many donating the maximum amount of $5,000. RPAC states that all donations are used “to help elect candidates who understand and support their interests.” Since all donations and contributions are publicly available, we can see that RPAC contributed $3,986,000 to federal candidates in 2021-2022, split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats. [post_title] => PAC vs Super PAC: What is the Difference? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => super-pac [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-02-22 17:19:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-02-22 17:19:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://marketing-staging.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=8496 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 1 [current_post] => -1 [before_loop] => 1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8496 [post_author] => 43 [post_date] => 2023-02-22 17:15:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-02-22 17:15:50 [post_content] => When it comes to public affairs and political fundraising, there are a lot of acronyms floating around. Two of the most common are PAC and Super PAC. PACs have been a part of American politics in since the 1940s while Super PACs are relatively new. Since their inception, Super PACs have been heavily criticized for flooding Washington with corporate dollars, and traditional PACs are often lumped into the criticism. But this criticism of PACs is often undeserved and the result of a misunderstanding of the differences between PACs and Super PACs. So what exactly is the difference? Keep reading to find out.

Types of PACs

First off, let’s look at the three primary types of fundraising committees:
  • Non-connected PAC
  • Separate Segregated Fund PAC
  • Super PACs
A separate segregated fund is a type of PAC established by a corporation, labor union or trade association. The second type is the non-connected PAC, which is funded solely through individual contributions and is unable to accept money from corporations or unions. The last type is the Super PAC, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, individuals, and unions for independent political expenditures like commercials or mailings. All three types of fundraising committees are regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The FEC is responsible for implementing and enforcing campaign finance laws and has jurisdiction over federal elections, including the regulation of contributions to candidates and committees.

What is a PAC?

A Political Action Committee (PAC) is a type of organization that works to influence the outcome of elections, most often through providing financial support to candidates. PACs are separate from political parties and individual candidates and have no official authority. PACs are made up of individuals who share a common agenda in respect to the policies and issues supported by political candidates. PACs serve as an important avenue for voicing opinions on key issues, offering citizens an additional form of engagement with their elected representatives. PAC contributions for federal elections are limited to $5,000 per year per individual. PACs can donate $10,000 to candidates ($5,000 for primary elections and $5,000 for general elections) and $15,000 to party committees.

What is a Separate Segregated Fund (SSF)?

As mentioned above, separate segregated funds are established by corporations, labor unions or trade associations. These funds can raise money from their members and use it for various political activities. The funding limits for segregated fund PACs vary by state, but typically they are prohibited from raising more than a certain amount of money from non-members. In addition, the funds may only be used for activities related to elections or other political matters.

PAC Example

The National Association of Realtors PAC (RPAC) is an example of a traditional PAC. In 2022, over 15,000 individuals donated to the PAC, many donating the maximum amount of $5,000. RPAC states that all donations are used “to help elect candidates who understand and support their interests.” Since all donations and contributions are publicly available, we can see that RPAC contributed $3,986,000 to federal candidates in 2021-2022, split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats. [post_title] => PAC vs Super PAC: What is the Difference? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => super-pac [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-02-22 17:19:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-02-22 17:19:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://marketing-staging.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=8496 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 1 [max_num_pages] => 0 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => 1 [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => 1 [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 7b3966c15d5505c186c86078b16c6b62 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [allow_query_attachment_by_filename:protected] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
!!! 8496
Dictionary

PAC vs Super PAC: What is the Difference?

PAC vs Super PAC: What is the Difference?

When it comes to public affairs and political fundraising, there are a lot of acronyms floating around. Two of the most common are PAC and Super PAC.

PACs have been a part of American politics in since the 1940s while Super PACs are relatively new. Since their inception, Super PACs have been heavily criticized for flooding Washington with corporate dollars, and traditional PACs are often lumped into the criticism. But this criticism of PACs is often undeserved and the result of a misunderstanding of the differences between PACs and Super PACs. So what exactly is the difference?

Keep reading to find out.

Types of PACs

First off, let’s look at the three primary types of fundraising committees:

  • Non-connected PAC
  • Separate Segregated Fund PAC
  • Super PACs

A separate segregated fund is a type of PAC established by a corporation, labor union or trade association. The second type is the non-connected PAC, which is funded solely through individual contributions and is unable to accept money from corporations or unions. The last type is the Super PAC, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, individuals, and unions for independent political expenditures like commercials or mailings.

All three types of fundraising committees are regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The FEC is responsible for implementing and enforcing campaign finance laws and has jurisdiction over federal elections, including the regulation of contributions to candidates and committees.

What is a PAC?

A Political Action Committee (PAC) is a type of organization that works to influence the outcome of elections, most often through providing financial support to candidates. PACs are separate from political parties and individual candidates and have no official authority.

PACs are made up of individuals who share a common agenda in respect to the policies and issues supported by political candidates. PACs serve as an important avenue for voicing opinions on key issues, offering citizens an additional form of engagement with their elected representatives.

PAC contributions for federal elections are limited to $5,000 per year per individual. PACs can donate $10,000 to candidates ($5,000 for primary elections and $5,000 for general elections) and $15,000 to party committees.

What is a Separate Segregated Fund (SSF)?

As mentioned above, separate segregated funds are established by corporations, labor unions or trade associations. These funds can raise money from their members and use it for various political activities. The funding limits for segregated fund PACs vary by state, but typically they are prohibited from raising more than a certain amount of money from non-members. In addition, the funds may only be used for activities related to elections or other political matters.

PAC Example

The National Association of Realtors PAC (RPAC) is an example of a traditional PAC. In 2022, over 15,000 individuals donated to the PAC, many donating the maximum amount of $5,000.

RPAC states that all donations are used “to help elect candidates who understand and support their interests.” Since all donations and contributions are publicly available, we can see that RPAC contributed $3,986,000 to federal candidates in 2021-2022, split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

7 Effective PAC Fundraising Ideas to Increase Contributions

What is a Super PAC?

Super PACs differ significantly from traditional PACs because they can receive unlimited donations from corporations, individuals, and unions. Super PACs cannot make direct contributions to campaigns or political parties.

The ability to raise and spend large sums of money has given Super PACs an influential role in the political process in recent years. This intense focus on fundraising has altered the landscape of elections by making them costlier and allowing certain well-funded groups the power to shape political outcomes.

The History of Super PACs

Super PACs emerged after the landmark Citizens United v FEC Supreme Court decision of 2010, which removed restrictions on independent political spending. This opened the door for corporations and wealthy individuals to pour unlimited funding into campaigns without any disclosure requirements or legal limits.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission arose when the conservative non-profit organization “Citizens United” sought to air a movie critical of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, which was prohibited by existing campaign finance laws. Citizens United sued the FEC on grounds of freedom of speech, arguing that these restrictions violated their First Amendment rights.

In a 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United and held that restrictions on independent political spending led to an unconstitutional infringement of free speech. This ruling meant that corporate money could be funneled into elections through super PACs and other organizations with no legal limits or disclosure requirements. As a result, this decision unleashed unprecedented amounts of money into politics from outside sources, leading to increased influence from corporations and wealthy individuals over popular opinion and legislation.

Super PAC Example

The largest Super PAC in the 2022 election cycle was the Senate Leadership Fund, which spent $246,008,258 in general elections, with the vast majority of that money going against Democrats. The Blackstone Group and Citadel donated $22,000,000 each to the fund.

Compare those numbers to our PAC example, which contributed $3,986,000 in total to general elections, and you can see the difference in scale between PACs and Super PACs is stark.

The Difference Between PACs and Super PACs

The main difference between PACs and Super PACs is that PACs are more regulated. Traditional PAC regulations include donation limits to an individual candidate and a ceiling on the overall sum of donations from any given source.

Super PACs, on the other hand, are not required to abridge their political spending on individual candidates or causes due to their status as non-profit organizations. However, they must disclose all financing information in order to be held accountable for the money spent during a campaign season.

PACs Super PACs
Who can donate? Individuals Individuals, corporations, unions
How much can donors contribute? $5,000 per year Unlimited
What can funds be spent on? Up to $10,000 to candidates or committees (split between primary and general elections), coordinated communications,  and independent expenditures Only independent expenditures

How are PACs and Super PACs the Same?

Political Action Committees (PACs) and Super PACs are both pressure groups that work to influence the political landscape.

PACs are primarily focused on fundraising for federal election endeavors, while Super PACs, or independent expenditure-only committees, raise funds for outside spending, such as television ad campaigns and other promotional material.

Both PACs and Super PACs must report their donors to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and abide by federal campaign finance laws. Despite the fact that these two entities have different roles in the political sphere, the major similarity between them is clear: They both accept unrestricted donations when it comes to election participation.

Why do PACs Exist?

PACs and Super PACs exist so groups can pool resources to make their political contribution more effective.

The Federal Election Campaign Act generally prohibits corporations, trade associations and labor organizations from using their general treasury funds to make contributions to federal candidates, federal accounts of political party committees, and other political committees (PACs). They may, however, fund independent expenditures, contribute to political committees established solely to finance independent expenditures (Super PACs), contribute to the non-contribution accounts of Hybrid PACs, and establish separate segregated funds (SSFs).

An independent expenditure is an expenditure for a communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate and which is not made in coordination with any candidate or their campaign or political party.

PACs vs Super PACs Summary

PACs are formed by individuals or organizations to support a particular political candidate or party and have strict fundraising and donation limits.

Super PACs may raise unlimited funds from individuals, corporations, labor unions, and other groups to support groups of candidates. They can use those funds for “independent expenditures” like ad campaigns but cannot donate directly to candidates or parties.

They both serve the same purpose – to provide financial support for political candidates – but they operate in vastly different ways due to differences between federal law requirements and internal governing structures.