Donations to Leadership PACS a Way Around Caps

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The Fund for America's Future. Blue Dog PAC. Growth and Prosperity PAC. America's Leadership PAC.

So-called leadership PACs like these are helping credit unions and other interest groups circumnavigate the new law banning unregulated soft money contributions in order to provide campaign funding to candidates for unlimited purposes. This allows credit unions to not only contribute the maximum allowable $10,000 to a congressional leaders personal campaign, but the same amount again to his or her leadership PAC, which that lawmaker can use for unlimited purposes, such as financing travel, contributing to partisan political activities, or propping up other candidates. The practice of leadership PACs has become so prevalent in Congress that it's not just leaders such as the Speaker of the House or Senate Majority Leader anymore who run them. Dozens of rank-and-file members, even freshmen, now have their own leadership PACs.

The Michigan CU League (through CUNA), for example, has contributed the maximum $10,000 to the campaign of two-term Rep. Mike Rogers, than another $5,000 to the Republican lawmaker's Majority Initiative to Keep Electing (MIKE) Republicans Fund.

NAFCU has contributed $10,000 to Rep. Spencer Bachus, and another $5,000 to the financial services subcommittee chairman's Growth and Prosperity leadership PAC.

CUNA has used leadership PACs to contribute extra campaign funds to such important congressional leaders as House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-OH), and dozens of other influential lawmakers.

So far, credit unions have contributed more than $200,000 to leadership PACs, this election-the vast majority, or $190,000 worth, by CUNA and its state league affiliates.

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