Legislative Political Glossary




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P

PAC

See Political Action Committee

Political Action Committee

Political Action Committee. A group not endorsed by a candidate or political party but organized to engage in political election activities, especially the raising and spending of money for "campaigning." Some political action committees (PACs) are organized solely to help defeat a candidate deemed undesirable by the group. PACs are most often organized around a particular trade, union, or business; they are also organized to promulgate particular social, economic, or political beliefs or agendas.

Source: TheFreeDictionary.com.
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Political+Action+Committee

In 1944, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the CIO part of what is today the AFL-CIO, wanted to help President Franklin Roosevelt get re-elected. Standing in their way was the Smith Connally Act of 1943, which made it illegal for labor unions to contribute funds to federal candidates. The CIO went around Smith Connally by urging individual union members to voluntarily contribute money directly to the Roosevelt campaign.  It worked very well and PACs, or political action committees were born.

Under federal election laws, PACs can legally contribute only $5,000 to a candidate committee per election (primary, general or special). They can also give up to $15,000 annually to any national party committee, and $5,000 annually to any other PAC. However, there is no limit to how much PACs can spend on advertising in support of candidates or in promotion of their agendas or beliefs. PACs must register with and file detailed financial reports of monies raised and spent to the Federal Election Commission.

Source: Robert Longley. About.com.
http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepoliticalsystem/a/aboutpacs.htm

Political actions

AFGE actions that deal with elections

Private Bill

A bill that is introduced on behalf of a specific individual that if it is enacted into law only affects the specific person or organization the bill concerns. Often, private bills address immigration or naturalization issues.

Private Calendar

A list of all the private bills that are to be considered by the House. It is called on the first and third Tuesday of every month.

Proxy voting

The practice of allowing a senator to cast a vote in committee for an absent senator. Senate Rule XXVI provides that proxies may not be voted when the absent senator has not been informed of the matter on which he is being recorded and has not requested that he be so recorded.