03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Republican Pro-Choice PAC Shortchanges Campaigns

Wharton Professor Yoram "Jerry" Wind calls himself a liberal Republican. Unhappy with what he considers far-right positions taken by his party, he searched for a way to change the GOP. Unsolicited, in July of 2000, Wind donated $250 to an Alexandria, Virginia-based political action committee: Republicans for Choice. Over the next nine years, he and his wife sent 10 more contributions to the same PAC, totaling $4,000. Like many of the more than 300 donors to the PAC since 2006, Wind expected that his contributions were going to help elect Republican candidates who support abortion rights -- and "to fight against those who want to legislate against abortion."

Since the PAC's formation in 1990, documents show that Republicans for Choice has raised and spent more than $5.5 million. But a Center for Public Integrity analysis of the PAC's more recent filings -- along with data from CQ MoneyLine, which tracks political giving -- reveals that over the past decade less than five percent of the committee's spending has gone to political candidates, other political committees, or independent expenditures. Since 2005, just about one-half of one percent of the PAC's nearly $1 million in spending has gone to federal or state campaigns, according to a review of records. By comparison, Federal Election Commission data show the average federal PAC in the recent 2007-2008 cycle dedicated about 35 percent of spending to contributions aiding federal candidates. A comparison to other PACs on both sides of the abortion debate shows that similar groups spend a much greater portion of their funds on candidates and campaigns.

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