Inside Report (1)
How do you stuff an extra-large genie into a bottle labeled ''small''?
In this case, the genie is the political action committee (PAC). The PAC concept was pioneered by unions to channel money and services to favored candidates. But unions are losing at their own game - at the hands of corporations, trade associations, professional, and special interest groups. The AFL-CIO says 3,300 PACs collected an aggregate $109 million between Janurary and March of '82. Better than 85 percent of that was raised by conservative organizations. Currently, a congressional candidate can recieve no more than $5, 000 from an individual PAC. But there's no limit on total PAC contributions. A pending bill would limit PAC contributions from all sources to $75,000 per candidate in a House election.
Labor backs this as a way of reducing the influence of ''wealthy contributors.'' Trade unionists are now asked to contribute $2 each to PACs.