Leadership PACs, Inc.

How Washington power players use leadership PAC contributions to buy access and influence


In “Leadership PACs, Inc.,” Issue One reveals how Washington power players — including some of the largest companies, trade associations and labor unions in America — use leadership PACs to buy access and influence.

Most Americans have no idea that leadership PACs exist, yet those who pay to play in Washington use contributions to these accounts as a means to gain access and curry favor with lawmakers — while legally evading campaign contribution limits.

In October 2018, roughly 90 percent of members of the U.S. House of Representatives had a leadership PAC, and just three sitting senators did not have one. A handful of members of Congress had two. Some politicians even form them before they are elected to federal office.

This report documents how leadership PACs are a problem for both political parties in Washington. It also shows that there is growing bipartisan momentum to curb the abuses and misuses of these little-known committees.

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Read “Why We Left Congress: How the Legislative Branch Is Broken and What We Can Do About It”

Issue One’s new joint report with the R Street Institute examines the legislative branch’s dysfunction through conversations with members who have voluntarily departed in the 2018 cycle. Read the full report and proposed solutions in “Why We Left Congress: How the Legislative Branch is Broken and What We Can Do About Ithere.