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An image of a table titled “PAC contributions to Candidates, 2015-2016”. From right to right, the rows read “New York Life Insurance: $831,200, 43.9% Democrat, 56.1% Republican”, “Boeing Co: $883,500, 43.1% Democrat, 56.9% Republican”, “Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: $970,600, 98.3% Democrat, “Credit Union National Assn: $971,850, 44.7% Democrat, 55.3% Republican”, “American Bankers Assn: $978,888, 21.1% Democrat, 78.9% Republican”, “National Beer Wholesalers Assn: $990,700, 38.7% Democrat, 61.1% Republican”, “Northrop Grumman: $1,022,700, 42.9% Democrat, 56.9% Republican”, “AT&T Inc: $1,074,250, 36.2% Democrat, 63.8% Republican”, “Lockheed Martin: $1,253,250, 35.9% Democrat, 64% Republican”, “Honeywell International: $1,335,747, 33.2% Democrat, 66.8% Republican”. At the bottom of the table, a source reads “Center for Responsive Politics. “Top 20 PACs Giving to Candidates.” January 21, 2016.”.
Corporations and associations spend large amounts of money on elections via affiliated PACs. This chart reveals the amount donated to Democratic (blue) and Republican (red) candidates by the top ten PACs during the most recent election cycle.

PACs through which corporations and unions can spend virtually unlimited amounts of money on behalf of political candidates are called super PACs.

Conor M. Dowling and Michael G. Miller. 2014. Super PAC! Money, Elections, and Voters after Citizens United . New York: Routledge.
As a result of a 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission , there is no limit to how much money unions or corporations can donate to super PACs. Unlike PACs, however, super PACs cannot contribute money directly to individual candidates. If the 2014 elections were any indication, super PACs will continue to spend large sums of money in an attempt to influence future election results.

Influencing governmental policy

Interest groups support candidates in order to have access to lawmakers once they are in office. Lawmakers, for their part, lack the time and resources to pursue every issue; they are policy generalists. Therefore, they (and their staff members) rely on interest groups and lobbyists to provide them with information about the technical details of policy proposals, as well as about fellow lawmakers’ stands and constituents’ perceptions. These voting cues    give lawmakers an indication of how to vote on issues, particularly those with which they are unfamiliar. But lawmakers also rely on lobbyists for information about ideas they can champion and that will benefit them when they run for reelection.

Wright, Interest Groups and Congress: Lobbying, Contributions, and Influence .

Interest groups likely cannot target all 535 lawmakers in both the House and the Senate, nor would they wish to do so. There is little reason for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to lobby members of Congress who vehemently oppose any restrictions on gun access. Instead, the organization will often contact lawmakers who are amenable to some restrictions on access to firearms. Thus, interest groups first target lawmakers they think will consider introducing or sponsoring legislation.

Second, they target members of relevant committees.

Richard L. Hall and Frank W. Wayman, “Buying Time: Moneyed Interests and the Mobilization of Bias in Congressional Committees,” American Political Science Review 84.3 (1990): 797-820.
If a company that makes weapons systems wants to influence a defense bill, it will lobby members of the Armed Services Committees in the House and the Senate or the House and Senate appropriations committees if the bill requires new funding. Many members of these committees represent congressional districts with military bases, so they often sponsor or champion bills that allow them to promote policies popular with their districts or state. Interest groups attempt to use this to their advantage. But they also conduct strategic targeting because legislatures function by respectfully considering fellow lawmakers’ positions. Since lawmakers cannot possess expertise on every issue, they defer to their trusted colleagues on issues with which they are unfamiliar. So targeting committee members also allows the lobbyist to inform other lawmakers indirectly.

Questions & Answers

what is government
Seth Reply
why is today's government so corrupt?
Julius Reply
what type of government does American practice?
Joshua Reply
what type of government does American practice
Joshua
Representative Democracy
Digital
what is communalism
Yarhere Reply
suppression of the people and their rights.
Julius
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debbie Reply
which political party has had the most sucess
Damion Reply
In what ways can the media change the way a citizen thinks about government?
Justin Reply
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Cowboy
Which of the following is not an agent of political socialization?
Vanessa Reply
What is government
AHMED Reply
how is the legislative work ?
Abdurahim Reply
law making
Cowboy
When acting as an agenda setter, the media
Brooke Reply
How do you know the answer to a question?
Nikaela Reply
which was not a third party challenger
Jonna Reply
the system of government in the United States is best described as?
Gabrielle Reply
a government for the people by the people
Jimmy
Which of the following was not a third-party challenger? a. Whig Party b. Progressive Party c. Dixiecrats d. Green Party
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Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
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