Leadership PACs
 - last updated September 23, 2006 -
One way a potential presidential candidate can build support in the years leading up to an election is to form a leadership PAC.  Leadership PACs can generate goodwill by making contributions to candidate and party committees.  A presidential prospect (or other political leader) can fund travel, build a network of supporters, and demonstrate fundraising prowess.  Note that there are federal and state leadership PACs.  In addition several of the prospects have chosen to structure their PACs as Section 527 organizations.  [Graphic]
Leadership PACs of leading presidential prospects show varying degrees of activity; some appear largely quiescent, while others have been raising money, contributing to candidates and communicating with a broader audience via websites.  Significant activity in 2004 through 2006 can signal that a prospect is interested in entering the presidential race.  However, some of these individuals also have re-election committees which may take precedence.

Mid Year 2006 Receipts and Disbursements

Republican Prospects - Federal PACs Total Receipts YTD
Total Disbursements YTD
Cash on Hand
ALLEN (Good Government for America Committee $62,082.50
BROWNBACK (Restore America PAC) $194,240.50
FRIST (Volunteer PAC) $2,761,703.84
GIULIANI (Solutions America PAC) $1,647,471.89
HAGEL (Sandhills PAC) $210,365.39
HUCKABEE (Hope for America PAC)
McCAIN (Straight Talk America)
PATAKI (21st Century Freedom PAC-Federal/Virginia total)* $1,791,710.
ROMNEY (The Commonwealth PAC-Federal/State total)*
Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina, New Hampshire
Democratic Prospects - Federal PACs
BAYH (All America PAC) $1,297,315.28
BIDEN (Unite Our States PAC)
CLARK (WesPAC - Securing America's Future) $269,374.88
CLINTON (HILL PAC) $912,161.22
EDWARDS (One America Committee, 1stQ, 2ndQ) $893,923.15 + $427,500.
($1,250,019.66 + $36,100.)
$629,527.75 + $226,796.
($1,227,346.60 + $437.)
FEINGOLD (Progressive Patriots Fund) $956,834.84
KERRY (Keeping America's Promise, Inc.) $2,193,179.06
VILSACK (Heartland PAC: 1stQ, 2ndQ) $716,082. 
WARNER (Forward Together PAC)
Above table does not show debts and obligations.

Leadership PACs:
BIG RAISERS:  Warner - $4,866,807.48  ...  Romney - $4,252,836.  ... McCain - $3,778,835.10  ... Frist - $2,761,703.84  ... Kerry - $2,193,179.06.
BIG SPENDERS:  McCain - $3,308,249.69  ...  Warner - $3,187,707.33  ...  Frist - $2,948,934.16  ...  Kerry - $2,034,815.40  ...  Romney - $1,284,840..

BIG RAISERS:  Frist - $3,534,932.95  ...  Warner - $3,357,589.75  ...  McCain - $2,307,993.85  ...  Kerry - $2,208,460.69  ... Bayh - $1,551,430.49.
BIG SPENDERS:  Frist - $3,682,504.86  ...  Kerry - $1,720,601.93  ...  Clinton - $1,280,452.91  ... Edwards - $1,227,346.60  ....  Bayh - $1,115,122.53.

In the last half of 2005 the leadership PACs made a scattering of contributions to candidate and party committees, but much of the funds went to payroll, consultants, travel, rent and so forth.

1. Sen. Allen's Good Government for America Committee again showed limited activity as he placed his major focus on Friends of George Allen, the re-election committee.  The biggest disbursements were $11,000.00 consulting fee (fundraising) to Benedetti & Farris LLC in Richmond, VA and $8,744.17 consulting fee (fundraising) to The Lukens Company in Arlington, VA.  The PAC made $83,500 in contributions to candidate/party committees.  In the first quarter there were seven contributions totaling $38,500, and in the second quarter 13 contributions to 12 campaign/party committees totaling $45,000.  Of interest -- Iowa: $5,000 to Lamberti for Congress (06/05/06); NH: $1,000 to Dave Wheeler, District 5 Executive Council candidate from Milford (05/31/06); $30,000 total to the NRSC.  For the cycle through June 30, 2006 Friends of George Allen has raised total net contributions of $11,427,926.88 and had net operating expenditures of $5,956,031.80, finishing with cash on hand of $6,617,620.10 with no debts owed to or by.

2. Sen. Brownback's Restore America PAC reported 27 contributions to candidate/party committees totaling $49,000.  Of interest: Iowa -- $1,000 contributions to the King, Latham and Lamberti for Congress primary committees; 9 contributions of $1,000 each to Michigan congressional candidates.  Ryan T. Carney of Arlington, VA was a major recepient of professional fees and expense reimbursements tallying  $34,083.31 in professional fees and $21,403.20 in expense reimbursements.  Also of note was the return of contributions of $42,000 to the Haskell Foundation c/o H.E. Llewellyn in Lawrence, KS.

3. Sen. Frist's VOLPAC invested significant resources in direct mail and fundraising during the first half of 2006.  Biggest disbursements included:  American Direct  $328,867.51   -   Print Mail Communications  $243,274.41   -  Southwest Publishing  $230,533.52   -   Catignani & Bond LLC  $191,681.12   -  Precision List  $177,274.09   -  LCM Strategies  $105,993.99.  Also of note: for legal consulting: Holtzman Vogel PLLC  $83,006.11; for political consulting: Jim Dyke & Associates $53,215.39; for website construction: GSL Solutions (Tampa) $36,287.25.  The PAC did a fair bit of conduiting, but made relatively few direct contributions to candidate/party committees.  One notable exception was a total of $152,900 to the Tennessee Republican Party.  Of interest: Iowa -- two $5,000 contributions to Rants for State House.

4. Former Mayor Giuliani's Solutions America PAC was largely quiescent for the first four months of the year.  In May Melissa Davis (fundraising) and John Avlon (communications) were brought on as consultants.  There was one contribution: $5,000 to Lamberti for Congress (Iowa).  The PAC paid $19,500.00 to RightClick Strategies LLC for website design.  In June the PAC made contributions totaling $84,000 to 17 congressional and Senate candidates: $5,000 each to 16 candidates and $4,000 to Steele for Senate in MD.  Charlie Bass' committee in NH was one of those committees that received $5,000.  The PAC paid $35,825.00 to RightClick Strategies for website design/upgrade.

5. Sen. Hagel's Sandhills PAC shows little evidence of presidential positioning.  The are many contributions to Nebraska legislative candidates.  Aside from contributions in March to the Iowa Christian Alliance ($1,000) and the Iowa Priorities Action Committee ($5,000) and in June to the Senate Republican Victory PAC in NH ($5,000) it has not been active in key early states.

6. Biggest contributors to Gov. Huckabee's Healthy America PAC were FEQ Investments in Little Rock ($25,000) and SPH Investments in Wakefield, RI ($20,000).  Also of note, former NH congressman Bill Zeliff contributed $1,000 in February.

7. In January Sen. McCain's Straight Talk America made 26 contributions totaling $127,000, including $5,000 contributions to 23 state parties (Iowa, NH and SC included) and $3,500 each to the Greenville and Spartanburg county parties in South Carolina.
In February, the PAC made 6 contributions totaling $25,500, including $3,500 to the Charleston county party and $3,500 each to the candidates for Attorney General and Adjuntant General in South Carolina.
In March, the PAC made 10 contributions totaling $49,000.  NH contributions of $12,500 went $2,500 each to the Bass and Bradley congressional campaigns, $5,000 to the NH state party, and $5,000 to the Property Protection Alliance of NH.
April was a big month with a particular focus on local Michigan party committees and Alabama candidates.  In Michigan the PAC distributed contributions to party committees in most or all of the state's 83 counties and its 15 congressional districts as well as a few other Republican party committees around the state; the PAC also made contributions to a number of candidates in Alabama.  It further made 29 contributions to congressional and Senate candidates totaling $91,400, and $5,000 contributions to 9 state parties.  NH contributions of $12,500 went $2,500 to Sununu, $5,000 to Peter Bragdon, and $5,000 to Senate Republican Victory PAC.
May saw a $30,500 infusion to NH including $2,000 to all 10 Republican county committees as well as to the Concord, Derry, Manchester and Portsmouth committees, and $2,500 to the NHFRW.  The PAC further made $1,000 contributions to 13 SC House candidates and $3,500 each to the South Carolina House and Senate GOP Caucuses; 10 contributions of varying sizes to Alabama Republican committees; $5,000 to 6 state parties; and contributions to about ten congressional and Senate candidates.
June was another big month for the PAC.  South Carolina received the biggest influx, a total of approximately $99,750 [figures plus or minus small amounts due to human error in tallying] including $70,250 in amounts from $250 to $3,500 going to 92 candidates $29,500 going to 48 committees.  The PAC distributed $500 to each of 54 Alabama county Republican committees, $1,000 to one and $1,250 to one ($29,250 total) and contributions ranging from $500 to $5,000 to 20 Alabama candidates ($22,500 total).  In Iowa the PAC distributed $1,000 contributions to county Republican committees in the 7 largest counties ($7,000) and $500 or $1,000 contributions to 20 House candidates ($16,000 total).  NH received little attention: $5,000 went to the NH House PAC and $2,000 to the Nashua committee.  There were also a handful of contributions to congressional and Senate candidates.
McCain's top political consultant John Weaver receives $15,000 per month.

8. Total receipts to Gov. Pataki's 21st Century Freedom PAC for the first 6 months of 2006 (Federal and Virginia) were $1,791,710 including $1,145,990 (Federal) and $645,720 (Virginia).  Disbursements of $1,044,525.61 included $223,194.61 (Federal) and $821,331 (Virginia).  Cash on hand of $1,279,646.34 consisted of $1,126,167.34 (Federal) and $153,479 (Virginia).

By comparison, for calendar year 2005 there was more of an emphasis on the Virginia PAC.  The 2005 receipts total was very similar to that for the first 6 months of 2006, $1,796,369.68, but most of the contributions came through the Virginia PAC, $330,997.68 (Federal) and $1,465,372 (Virginia).  Total disbursements of $1,497,343.24 consisted of $135,113.24 (Federal) and $1,362,230 (Virginia).  Cash on hand of $485,770.95 consisted of $203,371.95 (Federal) and $282,399 (Virginia).

In the first 6 months of 2006 the Federal PAC made 11 contributions to candidate/party committees totaling $32,502.64.  Of interest: NH -- Senate Republican Victory PAC $1,000 (02/28/06); Manchester Republican Committee $1,000 (04/24/06); House Republican Victory PAC $2,500 (06/15/06).  Iowa -- Lamberti for Congress $3,002.64 (06/15/06).  Cathy Blaney and Associates (NY) received a total of $56,107.66 for fundraising.  Nashua, NH-based Meridian Communications received a total of $21,000.  In Iowa, Des Moines-based Erik Helland received $7,500 for political consulting and S.E.I. Consulting LLC of Ankeny received $5,000.

9. Gov. Romney's Commonwealth PAC - The state PACs report at different times for different time periods.  For example, the 2nd quarter of the Iowa PAC is May 15th July 14th.  The totals above are from the PAC's accounting software pulled as of June 30th.  Federal receipts were $1,535,124.45 and disbursements were $655,461.04.  A good article on The Commonwealth PAC's fundraising is: Scott Helman and Chase Davis.  "Romney strategy pays off quickly: Multistate tactic overcomes limits."  Boston Globe, June 11, 2006.

10. Sen. Bayh's All America PAC.  11. Sen. Biden's Unite Our States.  12. Gen. Clark's WesPAC.  13. Sen. Clinton's HILL PAC. Friends of Hillary14. Sen. Dodd's CHRIS PAC.  15. Sen. Edwards' One America Committee.  16. Sen. Feingold's Progressive Patriots.  17. Sen. Kerry's Keeping America's Promise.  18. Gov. Vilsack's Heartland PAC: 1st Quarter contributions $400,647, expenditures $342,947 and 2nd Quarter contributions $315,435, expenditures $683,521.  19. Gov. Warner's Forward Together PAC

Year-End 2005
Mid-Year 2005
2004 and First Quarter of 2005
A look back to the '04 cycle

Leadership PACs often have creative or patriotic names that help convey message or philosophy.
"The Name Game"
  Below are names of leadership PACs of some of the individuals mentioned as major 2008 presidential prospects.
Match the PAC and the individual.  (Note: one of the names is made up).
1.  The Commonwealth PAC
2.  Forward Together PAC
3.  21st Century Freedom PAC
4.  Heartland PAC
5.  Sandhills PAC
6.  Keeping America's Promise PAC
7.  Solutions America PAC
8.  Progressive Patriots Fund
9.  Volunteer PAC
10.  One America Committee
11.  Restore America PAC
12.  All America PAC
13.  Good Government for America Committee
14.  WesPAC-Securing America's Future. 
16.  Unite Our States PAC
17.  Hope for America PAC
18.  Moving America Forward
19.  Wave the Flag PAC
20.  Straight Talk America
21.  Citizens for Hope Responsibility Independence & Service PAC
a.  Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN)
b.  Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN)
c.  Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
d.  Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)
e.  Name of PAC made up
f.  Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA)
g.  Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
h.  Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY)
i.  Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)
j.  Gov. George Pataki (R-NY)
k.  Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
l.  Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)
m.  Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA)
n.  Gen. Wesley Clark (D-AR)
o.  Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR)
p.  Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)
q.  Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
r.  Sen. George Allen (R-VA)
s.  Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)
t. Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM)
u.  Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE)
Answers: 1d. The Commonwealth PAC (Romney - July 2004).   2f. Forward Together PAC (Warner - July 6. 2005; Warner also has a state PAC, One Virginia PAC).   3j. 21st Century Freedom PAC (Pataki - April 8, 1998).   4m. Heartland PAC (Vilsack - April 13, 2005).   5g. Sandhills PAC (Hagel - May 28, 1999).   6c. Keeping America's Promise PAC (Kerry - Feb. 11, 2005).   7h. Solutions America PAC (Giuliani - March 20, 1998).   8i. Progressive Patriots Fund (Feingold - Jan. 28, 2005).   9b. Volunteer PAC (Frist - Nov. 24, 1998).   10p. One America Committee (Edwards).   11k. Restore America PAC (Brownback - April 1, 1999).   12a. All America PAC (Bayh).   13r. Good Government for America Committee (Allen - April 19, 1996).   14n. WesPAC-Securing America's Future (Clark - April 2, 2004).   16l. HILL PAC (Clinton - Jan. 5, 2001).   16u. Unite Our States PAC (Biden - June 28, 2005).   17o. Hope for America Political Action Committee -- name changed May 10, 2006; initially called Healthy America Political Action Committee (Huckabee - July 11, 2005).  18t. Moving America Forward (Richardson - mid-2002).   19e.  Wave the Flag PAC (Name of PAC made up).    20q. Straight Talk America (McCain - July 15, 2005).  21s. Citizens for Hope Responsibility Independence & Service PAC - CHRIS PAC (Dodd).

-Gov. Pataki's PAC initially filed in 1998 as Freedom PAC and then as Economic Freedom PAC before settling on 21st Century Freedom PAC. 
-The Commonwealth PAC includes a federal PAC, based in Michigan, and four state PACs, in Iowa, South Carolina, Arizona and Michigan.  Trent Wisecup, executive director of The Commonwealth PAC, took issue with the "leadership PAC" label.  He said The Commonwealth PAC was formed by friends and supporters of Gov. Romney to help support Republicans.  It has been very active in Iowa (Oct. 19, 2004; Jan. 19, 2005).
-Sen. Bayh changed the name of his PAC in Feb. 2005; it was formerly known as Americans for Responsible Leadership. 
-Fmr Sen. Edwards' PAC is the successor to New American Optimists, formed Aug. 28, 2001. 
-Gov. Richardson's Moving America Forward is now inactive; it was formed in 2002 and stopped operations in early 2005; it spent about $2.5 million.
-Gov. Vilsack's Heartland PAC and Gov. Huckabee's Healthy America PAC are Section 527 organizations.
-Sen. Rick Santorum, who was considered a presidential prospect until he ruled out a presidential race in July 2005, has a leadership PAC called America's Foundation formed Sept. 1, 1995 and initially known as FIGHT PAC.


Copyright © 2005, 2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action