- To seek out and support candidates for elective office who are supportive of public employees interests and rights, or if a benefit to the LVCEA can be determined by PAC.
- To support or oppose legislative issues and ballot measures that affect the welfare of public employees generally and Association members specifically.
History of PAC
In 1947, as part of the Taft-Hartley Act, the U.S. Congress prohibited labor unions or corporations from spending money to influence federal elections, and prohibited labor unions from contributing to candidate campaigns (an earlier law, the 1907 Tillman Act, had prohibited corporations from contributing to campaigns). Labor unions moved to work around these limitations by establishing political action committees, to which members could contribute.
In 1971, United States Congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). In 1974, Amendments to FECA defined how a PAC could operate and established the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce the nation's campaign finance laws. The 1974 amendments also restricted the amount of money that could be given directly to a Congressional campaign, spurring a boom in the creation of PACs as campaigns shifted how they raised money.
FECA and subsequent FEC rules provide a range of restrictions on PACs:
- Individuals are limited to contributing $5,000 per year to federal PACs;
- Corporations and unions may not contribute directly to federal PACs, but can pay for the administrative costs of a PAC affiliated with the specific corporation or union;
- Corporate-affiliated PACs may only solicit contributions from executives, shareholders, and their families;
- Contributions from corporate or labor union treasuries are illegal, though they may sponsor a PAC and provide financial support for its administration and fundraising;
- Union-affiliated PACs may only solicit contributions from members;
- Independent PACs may solicit contributions from the general public and must pay their own costs from those funds.
Federal multi-candidate PACs may contribute to candidates as follows:
- $5,000 to a candidate or candidate committee for each election (primary and general elections count as separate elections);
- $15,000 to a political party per year; and
- $5,000 to another PAC per year.
- PACs may make unlimited expenditures independently of a candidate or political party
In its 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the United States Supreme Court overturned sections of the Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (also known as the McCain-Feingold Act) that had prohibited corporate and union political expenditures in political campaigns. Citizens United made it legal for corporations and unions to spend from their general treasuries to finance independent expenditures related to campaigns, but did not alter the prohibition on direct corporate or union contributions to federal campaigns. Organizations seeking to contribute directly to federal candidate campaigns must still rely on traditional PACs for that purpose.