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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Disalvo, Daniel / Stonecash, Jeffrey

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.500
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.623

CiteScore 2018: 0.83

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.595
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.631

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Volume 13, Issue 2


Super PAC Spending Strategies and Goals

Diana Dwyre / Evelyn Braz
Published Online: 2015-08-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/for-2015-0020


Super PACs can raise and spend money in unlimited amounts, but what do they do with their money? What goals do super PACs pursue in allocating their money? We analyze 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 many super PACs behave more like political parties than traditional PACs.


About the article

Diana Dwyre

Diana Dwyre is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Chico. She has co-authored two books and published numerous articles and chapters on US campaign finance and the role of parties in elections. She was the 2009–2010 Australian Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Political Science at Australian National University and the 1998 APSA Steiger Congressional Fellow.

Evelyn Braz

Evelyn Braz received her MA in Political Science from California State University, Chico and is pursuing a PhD in political science at University of California, Davis. She has worked for a US House member and in the California State Assembly.

Corresponding authors: Diana Dwyre, Professor of Political Science, California State University, Chico, Chico, CA 95929-0455, USA, e-mail: ; and Evelyn Braz, Political Science PhD Student, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA, e-mail:

Published Online: 2015-08-22

Published in Print: 2015-07-01

Citation Information: The Forum, Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 245–267, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, ISSN (Print) 2194-6183, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/for-2015-0020.

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