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Texas PACs: 2004 Election Cycle Spending
I. Total Texas PAC Spending

This report identifies and ranks Texas’ top general-purpose political action committees (PACs) in the 2004 election cycle. These rankings are based on the total amount of expenditures that PACs electronically reported to the Texas Ethics Commission. During the two-year election cycle ending in December 2004, 850 general-purpose PACs reported such expenditures.1 After correcting one PAC’s $9.2 million data-entry error, total 2004 spending by these PACs amounted to almost $69 million.2 (Sixteen so-called special-purpose PACs, analyzed separately at the end of this report, spent almost $20 million more.)

This PAC spending is about one-fifth less than the $85 million that Texas PACs reported spending in the preceding election cycle. Several factors fed unprecedented PAC spending in 2002. First, Republican leaders made a huge push that year to seize a Texas House majority that would help Congressman Tom DeLay redraw Texas’ congressional districts. When combined with the failed defensive expenditures of Democrats, this effort fueled runaway PAC spending.

Texas PAC spending also peaks in gubernatorial election years, when PACs dig deep to influence the elections of a large number of statewide officeholders. While Texas PACs spent considerably less in 2004 than 2002, 2004 PAC expenditures were well above that of the previous non-gubernatorial election in 2000.
Texas PAC Spending Spikes
In Gubernatorial Election Years
No. of
Active PACs
Spending Increase
From Previous Cycle
Increase (%)
1996  911 $43,082,546 NA NA
1998* 893 $51,543,820 $8,461,274 20%
2000  865 $53,996,975 $2,453,155 5%
2002* 964 $85,320,226 $31,323,251 58%
2004  850 $68,904,524 ($16,415,702) (19%)

*Gubernatorial election year