Deirdre Shesgreenand and Jaimi Dowdell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch used campaign records to show that leadership PACs, set up separately from regular re-election accounts, are an increasingly popular tool politicians use to rake in extra campaign dollars that they then dole out to their colleagues — usually the party's most vulnerable incumbents or top challengers. "The accounts are a way for elected officials to get around campaign finance limits and wring yet more money out of special interests." In the process, critics contend, the PACs give lawmakers an extra political fund to dip into for travel, consultants and other items that fuel their own ambitions.
Lawmakers can use leadership accounts to pay for a wide range of political expenses, including some that have little to do with a PAC's stated purpose of contributing to federal candidates.
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