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Business and Labor Spending in U.S. Elections

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Publication Date: October 1997

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: 97-973

Topic: Politics (Campaigns, lobbying, and pressure groups)

Abstract:

Federal election law has long prohibited corporate and union spending in federal elections, but distinctions in statutes and judicial rulings have opened avenues by which these groups have been able to spend money in the electoral process. Business groups make particular use of political action committee (PAC) donations to candidates and soft money donations to parties. Unions made prominent use of issue advocacy in 1996, but labor’s political strength lies in exempt activity communications with members. This report explains these tools and their use in today’s elections.