The total number of political action committees increased by almost 400 during 2008, reflecting the white-hot interest in the campaigns for the White House and Congress, as well as the undeniable shift in power in Washington. As of 1/1/09, there were 4,611 PACs registered with the FEC. And according to the Associated Press, they accounted for $1.2B in spending over the two year campaign cycle, up $100M over 2005-2006 and about $350M over the last presidential cycle. In terms of direct contributions to candidates, Democrats bested Republicans $234M to $178M.
RBR/TVBR observation: A lot of PACs are directly associated with business or associations and others rely on contributions from committed citizens and activists. Since businesses and citizens alike are hurting puppies right now, this is one are of campaign funding that may be diminished by the crippled economy next time around.