The Federal Election Commission has reported a 1.3% increase over the total reported 1/1/08 in political action committees. These groups have an interest in political matters but are not affiliated with a specific party or candidate. The FEC says while PACs come and PACs go, the number has been fairly stable for the past 20 years or so. There are now 4,292 in existence as of 7/1/08.
It is not necessary to spend money on political campaigning or advertising to be registered as a PAC, but an organization must register if it has spent $1K or more within a calendar year. Corporations control 1,578 of those currently in existence, 1,377 are independent or “non-connected,” 928 are affiliated with trade, membership or health organizations, 272 are tied to labor unions, 96 belong to corporations without stock and 41 are part of co-operatives.
RBR/TVBR observation: It looks like this represents the high-water mark for PACs in existence, but it isn’t an outrageous departure from the status quo over the past few years. The 7/1/08 total is only one PAC greater than that of 7/1/05.