chapter  4
32 Pages

The 1980s

New Directions in Campaign Funding
ByMarian Currinder

The 1980 elections brought Republicans within twenty-six seats of majority control of the House. Changes in the party's electoral and governing strategies affected how House members redistributed money to their colleagues. While leadership political action committees (PACs) were established by some Republicans during the 1980s, most were operated by Democratic members who either held leadership positions or had leadership aspirations. The national party committees avoided soliciting campaign contributions from PACs and instead encouraged them to contribute directly to Republican candidates. Major changes in House electoral activity during the 1980s were accompanied by changes within the congressional party organizations. These transformations contributed to an increased emphasis on campaign money, and to the growth of member-to-member and member-to-party giving. During the 1980s, the congressional campaign committees greatly expanded their campaign fund-raising efforts and began offering their candidates more campaign resources and services. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the House moved firmly away from committee and subcommittee government toward conditional party government.