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The Rise of Political Action CommitteesInterest Group Electioneering and the Transformation of American Politics$
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Emily J. Charnock

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190075514

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190075514.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2022

A Labor-Liberal Constellation

A Labor-Liberal Constellation

(p.168) 6 A Labor-Liberal Constellation
The Rise of Political Action Committees

Emily J. Charnock

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the initial diffusion of the PAC concept from the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) to other labor organizations, including the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and liberal ideological groups. Though the AFL had previously opposed the CIO’s partisan electoral strategy and the formation of P.A.C., it came to emulate both following passage of the Taft-Hartley Act by a Republican Congress in 1947, forming Labor’s League for Political Education (LLPE) to engage in elections. That same year, two avowedly “liberal” groups were created to bolster the anti-Communist Left and champion liberal Democrats: the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and the National Committee for an Effective Congress (NCEC). The chapter traces the intertwined electoral efforts and tactical innovations of these liberal and labor organizations through the AFL-CIO merger in 1955, the subsequent creation of their joint PAC, the Committee on Political Education (COPE), and the latter’s activities in the 1956 elections.

Keywords:   labor unions, PACs, campaign finance, liberalism, Democratic Party, anti-Communism, Cold War, AFL-CIO, Americans for Democratic Action

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