It’s Election Season… So What is a PAC Anyway?

Political action committees, which are also known as PACs, are influential single-focus groups that use communication practices to pressure the political process. PACs have significantly contributed to the decline of traditional political parties.

The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 changed ways campaigns are financed when the Supreme Court ruled that individuals could spend as much as they want for their candidates but only separate from donations tied to a campaign. However, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of unlimited contributions provided by corporations and PACs in 2010. This proves to show the power of PACs in elections as well as their vast influence.

The NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is an example of a PAC. They are a pressure group that works to aggregate individual opinions in to a group around a single issue; they also raise large funds quickly, in addition to the other functions of PACs.

PACs often make the difference in elections because of the many communication activity related functions they perform, including turning voters on to their “hot button” issues and the influence they have on officials using various communication channels. These functions are communication related activities because lobbyists employ use of social media, written fliers, emails, phone calls, pseudo-events for publicity and other methods to appeal to voters and officials.

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