National government decisions often affect Texas-based interest groups. Likewise, many Texas interests reach beyond state
borders. Consequently many Texas-based interest groups participate in
national as well as state politics.
Financial activities in support of
national political parties or candidates for federal office shed some
light on the interests involved and the nature of their involvement.
This feature examines the flow of soft money
and political action committee
money from Texas to Washington.
Let's first set some terms.
refers to funds raised in unlimited amounts by
national party organizations outside the limits and restrictions of the
Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).
Though now banned, national
parties used soft money through 2002 to pay for "party building"
activities in state and local elections and to help defray party
organizational overhead, e.g., administrative costs and fundraising
A political action committee
is an entity other than a
political party regulated under federal and state law that raises and
spends money to elect or defeat candidates. Compared with the maximum
individual contribution of $2,000, PACs qualified and registered to
participate in federal elections may contribute up to $5,000 per
candidate per election.