The coronavirus pandemic has even hit special interest political action committees (PACs), those usually relentless raisers of cash. The latest report from New Jersey’s Election Law Enforcement Commission, released Tuesday, reveals that after a record first quarter catch of $13.3 million, special interest PAC fundraising for the three months ending June 30, fell $4.2 million, or 32%. The pandemic led to a statewide shutdown in mid-March.
Special interest PACs are run by unions, businesses, regulated industries, ideological, trade associations and professional associations. ELEC examined fundraising by 235 of them that raised or spent funds during the first six months of 2020 and compared the results with data from other years, back to 2009. According to an ELEC press release, “Going back to 2009, special interest PACs have not suffered a mid-year slump of more than 9 percent, and then only in two (2015 and 2016) of the last 12 years.” Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s executive director, said, “It appears the virus crisis plagued PAC treasurers in the second quarter just as it seemed to bedevil party and legislative leaders … Whether this trend continues remains to be seen. ELEC will be monitoring disclosure reports to track any lingering effects.”