Super PAC Spending Strategies in the 2012 Federal Elections

33 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2014

See all articles by Diana Dwyre

Diana Dwyre

California State University, Chico

Evelyn Braz

California State University, Chico - Political Science

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

What strategies do super PACs pursue in allocating their money? In this paper, we examine how super PACS spent their money in the 2012 federal elections. What principles guided super PAC spending strategies? Do they follow strategies similar to traditional PACs? We argue that their spending patterns have changed the dynamics of federal campaign finance by directing more funds to individual candidate races than in the past, particularly through candidate-specific super PACs. We find that most super PACs spend their money differently than conventional PACs in that they are less interested in access to sitting lawmakers and more focused on an electoral strategy to affect the partisan composition of government. Thus, super PACs behave more like political parties than traditional PACs. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that some super PAC practices challenge the court decisions and regulations that govern their activities, raising concerns about the impact these new campaign finance organizations have on U.S. elections.

Keywords: super PACs, campaign finance, elections, campaigns, outside spending, electoral politics

Suggested Citation

Dwyre, Diana and Braz, Evelyn, Super PAC Spending Strategies in the 2012 Federal Elections (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2455672

Diana Dwyre (Contact Author)

California State University, Chico ( email )

Chico, CA 95929
United States

Evelyn Braz

California State University, Chico - Political Science ( email )

Butte Hall, Room 741
400 West First St.
Chico, CA 95929-0455
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
128
Abstract Views
599
rank
301,828
PlumX Metrics