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Leadership PACs use most money for non-campaign activities

Marketplace, the public radio program, is running a series this week on leadership PACs: Companies and unions have used political action committees to raise money for congressional candidates for years. Thirty years ago a couple of congressmen copied the idea with a view to raising money for their parties and political allies in tough election fights and the Leadership PAC was born.

Today, Leadership PACs are booming. Those who run them can accept bigger donations than they can to their election campaign funds. The donations typically are from lobbyists and other special interests.

Marketplace identified almost 350 political action committees run by current and former members of congress, governors and unelected candidates. These PACs raised more than $400 million since 2000, but they gave away just $150 million to federal candidates' campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission reports. -- PAC Men

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