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PACs, Super PACs and 527s

Tuesday, September 28, 2010; A6

Among the types of groups raising campaign money:

Nonprofits: Are allowed to run advertising ahead of elections but cannot be devoted primarily to politics. Can accept contributions of any size without disclosing donors.

PAC (political action committee): Created to funnel campaign contributions directly to candidates. Corporations cannot contribute directly to PACs but can sponsor a PAC for employee donations. Annual donations are limited to $5,000 from individuals, whose names and contributions must be disclosed.

Super PAC: Can raise and spend unlimited amounts on politics, but must operate independently of candidates and cannot contribute to individual candidates. Donors must be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission

Political party: Can accept donations of $30,400 from individuals, less from PACs, but nothing from corporations. Donations must be disclosed to the FEC.

527 group: Named for a section in the tax code, a 527 group can run political ads with unlimited individual and corporate contributions but must disclose donors to the IRS.

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