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Study Notes

Super PAC

Level:
A-Level
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

A Super PAC is a type of Political Action Committee, which has arisen from the Supreme Court Case ‘SpeechNow.org’ v. Federal Election Commission, and Citizens United v Federal Election Commission 2010.

Super PACs are designated as independent expenditure committees and may therefore raise and spend unlimited and unrestricted amounts of money to advocate for or against candidates standing for elected office. Super PACs have some rules which do govern their ability to campaign which are as follows:

  • Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to a candidates campaign
  • They must not coordinate with the Official Campaign for that candidate (There are ways around this)
  • Requirements to disclose donor information to the Federal Election Commission every month during an election year, and either monthly or semi-annually in non election years.

At the end of the October, there are currently 1,219 Super PACs, which have brought in a grand total $303.6 million, and having spent a total of $43.6 million.

Super PACs for 2016 Election Race

Independent Expenditure is classed as money that is spent on campaigns that are not specifically advocating the election of a candidate. As such quite a lot of the money that is spent by Super PACs is on negative campaigning.

Rand Paul Super PAC Ad from America's Liberty PAC

The rules surrounding Super PACs are complicated, but they must not coordinate with the official campaigns. However, there are ways around this particular rule. The New York Times published this video on explaining how Super PACs can get around this.


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