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The Rise of Political Action Committees – Interest Group Electioneering and the Transformation of American Politics - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Rise of Political Action Committees: Interest Group Electioneering and the Transformation of American Politics

Emily J. Charnock


This book explores the origins of political action committees (PACs) in the mid-twentieth century and their impact on the American party system. It argues that PACs were envisaged, from the outset, as tools for effecting ideological change in the two main parties, thus helping to foster the partisan polarization we see today. It shows how the very first PAC, created by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1943, explicitly set out to liberalize the Democratic Party by channeling campaign resources to liberal Democrats while trying to defeat conservative Southern Democrats. This org ... More

Keywords: PACs, parties, interest groups, polarization, election campaigns, labor unions, business, liberalism, conservatism, American political development

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780190075514
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190075514.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Emily J. Charnock, author
Director, Kennedy Memorial Trust