2019 PAC Benchmarking Reports Find Super PACs Are Not So Super

22 Aug, 2019

August 22, 2019

Contact: Alaina Monismith
Communications and Marketing Manager
Public Affairs Council

2019 PAC Benchmarking Reports Find Super PACs Are Not So Super 

New reports find corporate and association PACs succeed through lean operations, leadership involvement and peer programs 

Washington (August 22, 2019) – The Public Affairs Council has released the 2019 Corporate and Association PAC Benchmarking Reports. The new editions provide an in-depth look at corporate and association PAC activities, insights for PAC managers to improve their programs and highlight the important role PACs play in the political process.

Conducted every two years, the reports are the most comprehensive and widely-used source for information on trends in PAC management, budgets, structure, fundraising and political involvement.

“The Association and Corporate PAC Benchmarking Reports continue to be one of the most valuable resources for the PAC community,” said Kristin Brackemyre, director of PAC and government relations. “From fundraising strategies to leadership engagement to successful solicitation methods, the reports help practitioners tailor their strategies and understand how their programs compare to their peers.”

Several key findings emerged from the 2019 surveys, including:

Little support for super PACs. More than half of corporate survey participants said their company’s PAC has never contributed to a super PAC, and only 6% of respondents report donations to a super PAC in the last election.
Contributions are strategic and transparent. The most common candidate contribution criteria for association PACs include voting record, committee membership and leadership position. Criteria corporate PACs consider most often include committee membership, having locations in a candidate’s district, leadership position and voting record consistent with company goals.
PACs are lean operations. Budgets and staffing remained stagnant compared with the past election cycle. The median PAC continues to have just one professional staff member.
Engaged leaders remain vital. High levels of involvement by a CEO, staff executive or board member was an indicator of a strong PAC program. More than 90% of corporate PACs report some type of support from their CEO.
Peer programs are working. Peer-to-peer remains one of the most popular and effective solicitation methods. The median size of an association PAC using peer solicitors was just over $1.1 million compared to under $300,000 for those that did not.

“We’re pleased to release the new PAC Benchmarking Reports,” said Public Affairs Council President Doug Pinkham. “The findings reinforce that the PAC community adopts best practices that promote transparency, and that employee-funded PACs are a vital and trusted form of campaign finance.”

To learn more or purchase the reports, click here.

The Council sent survey questionnaires to members and nonmembers in the PAC community from February through April 2019. Responses cover federal PAC activities and receipts in the 2017-2018 election cycle.

About the Public Affairs Council
Both nonpartisan and nonpolitical, the Public Affairs Council is the leading association for public affairs professionals worldwide. The Council’s mission is to advance the field of public affairs and to provide its 700 member companies and associations with the executive education and expertise they need to succeed while maintaining the highest ethical standards. Learn more about the Council at pac.org.