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Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November/December 1996, pages 41-44

PAC Watch

Pro-Israel PACs Outspending Rivals 522 to 1 in 1995-96

By Richard Curtiss and Geoff Lumetta

(Contributions of $1,371,034 by 61 pro-Israel PACs active in the 1996 election cycle to 203 individual candidates for Congress [116 Democrats and 87 Republicans] as of June 30 were detailed in the October 1996 issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, [pp. 36-39]. Below is the same information pertaining to Arab-American and Muslim-American PACs in the 1996 cycle as of June 30. Final reports on contributions by all Middle East-related PACs during the 1996 cycle will be published in the Feb./March 1997 issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, or as soon thereafter as they become available from the Federal Election Commission.)

One Arab-American and one Muslim-American political action committee had made contributions to candidates for Congress in the 1996 congressional election cycle as of June 30, 1996, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. The total contributions of the two PACs were $2,625, which went to four candidates, two Democrats and two Republicans.

As of June 30, therefore, pro-Israel PACs had outspent Arab and Muslim American PACs by $522 to $1. There was a smaller disparity between funds collected as of June 30. The 61 active pro-Israel PACs had collected $3,875,184 as of that date, and 2 active Muslim-American and 2 active Arab-American PACs had collected a total of $22,969. (One Arab-American and one Muslim-American PAC had collected funds but as of June 30 had not made any donations to candidates.) Thus for every $169 collected by pro-Israel PACs, Arab-American and Muslim-American PACs combined had collected $1.

Since the first Arab-American PAC became active in the 1984 election cycle, the lowest total amount spent in an election cycle by combined Arab-American and Muslim-American PACs has been $17,350 in the 1984 cycle The highest total amount spent by PACs in both categories was $80,249 in the 1990 election cycle.

In the 14 years since they were created, Muslim-American and Arab-American PACs have donated a total of $264,392 to congressional candidates. In the 22 years since they were created, pro-Israel PACs have donated $30,512,508 to congressional candidates.

Thus for every dollar Arab-American and Muslim-American PACs have donated to candidates over the years, pro-Israel PACs have donated $115.41.