It never ends...
Coming to Terms:
This selection was excerpted from www.opensecrets.org.
Partial Public Financing-- An arrangement under which a portion of the campaign funds used by candidates comes from the government, usually in the form of a grant that matches private money raised. Twenty-three states provide partial public financing to candidates, either directly or via political parties. The federal government provides partial public financing to candidates in presidential primaries. See also "Matching Funds," "Full Public Financing," and "Democratically Financed Elections"
Pay to Play -- A reference to the character of the American political process: in order to be assured of access and influence with elected officials, a person or group has to make significant contributions to those officials' re-election campaigns. See also "Access"
"[If we didn't make PAC contributions] I wouldn't have the access . . . I wouldn't know Governor X to the degree that we know the governor and his staff; we wouldn't know Bob Y, the local congressman, as well as we know him; and we wouldn't know the junior senator as well." -- PAC director quoted in Money Talks by Dan Clawson.
Payoff -- The return on a campaign investment made by a vested-interest contributor -- e.g., special appointments (such as ambassadorships), tax breaks, subsidies, regulatory exemptions, committee action to approve or block particular legislation. See also "Investment"
"[I]t's not as if it's a specific payoff, like you get a bag of money one night for voting a particular way. It's much harder to describe, and I think in many ways it's much more insidious." -- former U. S. Rep. Peter Kostmayer (D-Pa.)
Permanent Campaign -- The common practice of continuous fundraising throughout one's term in office in order to have as much money on hand as possible for the next election, thus discouraging prospective challengers. See also "War Chest"
"Someone like me, in a very marginal seat, begins thinking about re-election a day or so after he is sworn in for a new term -- if he wants to get re-elected." -- former U. S. Rep. Jim Bacchus (D-Fla.)
Personal Use -- Expenditure of campaign funds for such things as the candidate's wardrobe, family vacations, or mortgage payments.
Plutocracy -- The wealthy elite who dominate American politics by virtue of public officials' dependence on their campaign contributions, or by virtue of their ability to use their money to win major public office themselves. As campaigns become more expensive, more millionaires are becoming candidates and getting elected. In 1992, 71 of 435 U.S. Representatives (16 percent) and 26 of 100 U.S. Senators (26 percent) were millionaires. Fewer than one-half of 1 percent of the U.S. population are millionaires.
Pockets of a Politician's Coat -- An expression coined by Kent Cooper of the Federal Election Commission that refers to the various accounts for which politicians can solicit funds from contributors who may want to gain access and influence. Examples include politicians' re-election committees, "soft money" accounts for contributions to state and local parties, their favorite charities, their "leadership" PACs, non-profit foundations they head, their legal defense funds, and politicians' own "pockets" for receiving personal loans, all-expenses-paid family vacations, the free use of cars, planes, accommodations, etc.
Political Action Committee (PAC) -- A popular term for a political committee that is not a candidate's campaign committee or a party committee, and that is organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates. Most PACs represent business, labor, or ideological interests.
Political Foundation -- A non-profit, tax-exempt organization set up by or on behalf of an elected official for the stated purpose of conducting public education. In practice, such foundations are often used to advance the political careers of particular politicians; because such foundations can accept gifts of any size, moneyed interests use them to curry favor with politicians without the constraint of campaign contribution limits.
Price of Admission -- The amount of money it takes to be elected to a major public office. For example, during the 1994 congressional elections, the average winner spent $516,000, and those challengers who spent less than $150,000 lost 100 percent of the time.
Primary -- An intra-party election for the purpose of determining the party's nominee in the general election.
Principal Campaign Committee -- The FEC's designation for the main (or only) committee authorized by the candidate to raise and expend funds to promote his or her election or re-election. Usually called the "Committee to (Re-) Elect Pat Smith."
Public Financing -- Campaign money supplied by the government to eligible candidates. The federal government provides presidential candidates with matching public funds in the primary and full public financing in the general election. Twenty-three states provide partial public financing to candidates for various state offices and/or to political parties.
- Access -- Auction-Block Elections
- Best Effort -- Bundling
- Campaign Spending Limit -- Corruption Cost
- DCCC -- DSCC
- Earmarking -- Express Advocacy
- Fat Cat -- Full Public Financing
- General Election -- Gucci Gulch
- Hard Money -- Honorarium
- Ideological Contributor -- Issue Advocacy
- Joint Fundraiser
- Keating Five
- Leadership PAC -- Lowest Unit Rate
- Matching Funds -- Multi-Candidate Committee
- Non-Connected Committee -- NRSC
- Open-Seat Election -- Out-of-State (Out-of-District)Contribution
- Partial Public Financing -- Public Financing
- Qualifying Contribution -- Quid Pro Quo
- Rainmaker -- Run-Off
- Salting -- Surplus Funds
- Targeting -- Tip of the Iceberg
- Variable Contribution Limits -- Vouchers
- War Chest -- Wealth Primary