Call them the procrastination PACs: Political action committees have given $13 million to House and presidential candidates in the final two weeks of the campaign, leaving candidates even less time to actually make use of the money. All of the donations came after Oct. 17, the final main donor-disclosure reports that most journalists and opposition researchers work off of before the election.
By far, the biggest flurry of late activity came from Chesapeake Energy, whose PAC gave nearly half a million dollars in $5,000 increments, almost all to House Republicans, in the last two-and-a-half weeks.
A natural gas provider, Chesapeake is subject to a bevy of federal reguations, and Oct. 6 pleaded guilty in federal court to three violations of the Clean Water Act, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for dumping at least 60 tons of waste into a West Virginia stream.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is a political action committee that has actually taken heat in the past for not doing what PACs are designed to do, give to candidates. Sarah Palin’s SarahPAC has given $50,500 since Oct. 17, a welcome change for a political vessel that has in the past given little to candidates and financed hefty payments to Palin aides.
Also among the top givers in final days are PACs representing Exxon, at $47,000, the Service Employees International Union, at $43,000, and Home Depot, at $42,000.
Last-minute donations to Senate candidates are not included because only House and Presidential candidates disclose major donors in the final stretch of the race in real time.