Patterns of Campaign Finance in Pennsylvania's 1982 Legislative Election


  • James Eisenstein



This paper analyzes sources of contributions to virtually all candidates for Pennsylvania legislative office in 1982 who reported raising or spending more than $250 in any of six reporting periods. Contributions totaling nearly $7,750,000 were examined. Almost half came in amounts greater than $250. About 20% came from contributions of $50 or less from individuals: an equal proportion came from individuals giving between $50 and $250. Political Action Committee contributions received special scrutiny. About 27% of all money raised came from PACs, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats. But PAC money heavily favored incumbents by a three to one margin. In sharp contrast to political party contributions, PACs gave almost as much to candidates assured of victory or even unopposed as to those in close races. Labor PACs gave about as much as professional PACs, but were outspent two to one by business PACs. Overall, PACs accounted for nearly 37% of incumbents' receipts, suggesting their role is greater than in U.S. Congressional elections.