Pooled donations add $33M punch to fall elections

WASHINGTON — A growing number of special-interest groups are bypassing strict limits on donations to congressional candidates by combining contributions, giving them greater clout in November’s midterm elections.

So far this year, at least 117 PACs, political parties and other fundraising committees have collected $32.7 million in contributions to pass on to candidates — nearly double the $17.4 million such committees funneled to candidates in the 2006 midterm elections, Federal Election Commission records show.

Under federal law, a political action committee cannot donate more than $5,000 of its own money to a candidate for a primary or general election.

There are no limits on how much a PAC can forward to candidates from other donors, though. The activity covers the ideological spectrum from the conservative, anti-tax Club for Growth to EMILY’s List, which raises money to elect female Democrats who support abortion rights.

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