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New PAC Benchmarking Reports Released

By August 28, 2017November 14th, 2017News (DD)
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August 28, 2017
Contact: Drew Doggett
Senior Associate, Marketing and Communications
Public Affairs Council

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Public Affairs Council has released the 2017 Corporate PAC Benchmarking Report and the 2017 Association PAC Benchmarking Report, the PAC community’s most comprehensive and widely used benchmarking surveys.

The reports feature responses from nearly 300 corporate and association PACs, highlighting daa on PAC participation, solicitation and disbursement methods, internal management and governance, leadership involvement, donor benefits, recognition techniques and candidate support strategies.

Most Common Forml Candidate Contribution Criteria

Key findings:

  • Senior management shows support. Members of the company’s senior management outside the CEO were found to be the most effective PAC solicitors, followed by the CEO, and the head of the government relations department.
  • Super PACs – not so super. Only 5 percent of corporate respondents indicate their company gave to a super PAC. In fact, the number of companies that have a policy prohibiting super PAC donations increased to 39 percent, up from 36 percent in 2015.
  • Focus on internal oversight. Eighty-eight percent of corporate PACs report having a PAC board and 90 percent of associations have one, underscoring that PACs are one of the most transparent and highly regulated vehicles for political participation. Formal candidate contribution, which is not required by law, are part of the management process for 94 percent of PACs. The most common contribution criteria can be viewed in the chart above.
  • Association leaders are more engaged than ever. Involvement in the association’s federal PAC by staff executives (the CEO, for instance) and its member leaders (such as the board chair) increased among nearly every category of engagement.
  • Corporate member solicitation is a major challenge. For trade associations, only 20 percent of member companies grant prior approval to solicit PAC-eligible employees.

“PACs are the perfect example of campaign finance reform that really works,” notes Public Affairs Council President Doug Pinkham. “Participating in PACs is one of the best ways for companies and individuals to get involved in the political process, and it’s clear that corporate and association leaders agree.”

“This study shows that super PACs aren’t a popular political strategy for most companies,” says Kristin Brackemyre, manager of PAC and advocacy practices for the Council. “Only five percent of corporate respondents said their company gave to a super PAC during the 2015-2016 election cycle, which bucks the conventional wisdom that they are widely supported in the business community.”

Learn more about or purchase the 2017 PAC Benchmarking Reports here.

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