The Best and Worst PACs for Giving to Women Congressional Candidates in 2016

By haley smith on March 22, 2017

In 2016, Representation2020, the Center for Responsive Politics, and Common Cause examined the breakdown of PAC giving by candidate gender to find out how PACs donated their money to women candidates. Examining U.S. House and Senate elections from 2010–2014 (and with the help of some 2016 data) we found that some PACs were more equitable at giving money to women candidates than others. So what PACs gave the most to women in the 2016 election cycle and what PACs gave the least?

All data in this post was provided by the Center for Responsive Politics

Highest Total Contributions to Women Candidates:

The table below shows the PACs who gave the largest overall sums of money to women candidates in the 2016 cycle. While all the PACs on the list gave the largest amounts of money to female candidates in the 2016 cycle, the PACs varied quite a lot in the percent of their money they gave to women candidates.

Of the PACs that gave the largest sums to women candidates in the 2016 cycle, Off the Sidelines contributed the largest overall share of their money to women candidates, with 100% of their funds going to women candidates. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers contributed the largest total amount, giving roughly $855,400 to women candidates. That translated to about 35% of their overall contributions.  The National Association of Realtors contributed the second largest sum, but overall contributed the smallest share of their funds (18%) to women candidates. Of the ten PACs giving the largest sums to women candidates in 2016, 8 of the 10 contributed over 30% of their funds.  Only the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the National Association of Realtors gave less than 30% of their contributions to women candidates. 


infogram_0_pacs2016_total_dollarsPACs who Gave the Most to Women Candidates (Total Dollars) in 2016//

Only Contributed to Women Candidates:

The below list represents the ten largest PACs that contributed only to women candidates in the 2016 election cycle. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s leadership PAC Off the Sidelines, which contributes to the campaigns of Democratic women candidates, gave the most to women. As the previous table shows, Off the Sidelines also gave the fifth largest sum to women candidates in the 2016 election cycle. Of the PACs that gave exclusively to women, EMILY’s List gave the second highest amount. Value in Electing Women PAC (VIEW PAC), which supports Republican women, gave the third most overall. VIEW PAC and RightNow were the only two PACs on the list that exclusively supported Republican women. 

infogram_0_copy_pacs_who_gave_the_most_to_women_candidates_total_dollars_in_2016PACs who Gave 100% of Their Funds to Women in 2016//

 No Contributions to Women Candidates:

Just like some PACs gave exclusively to women in the 2016 cycle, several PACs gave only to men. The table below shows the ten largest PACs who gave only to male candidates. Of the PACs that gave exclusively to male candidates, Empire PAC gave the most, contributing $185,000 to Democratic male candidates. Empire PAC is an affiliated leadership PAC of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and a brother PAC to Off the Sidelines. Georgia Power PAC, an affiliate of Georgia’s power and utility companies, gave the second highest amount to men. Georgia Power PAC, however, donated only to Georgia’s incumbents, all of whom were male. In Georgia’s one open Congressional seat, Georgia Power PAC contributed to the campaign of the Republican candidate, who was male, in a heavily Republican district. The third largest PAC giving exclusively to male candidates, Combat Veterans for Congress PAC, gave money to only Republican male candidates, as did Mimedx Group and First Principles Fund. American Lighting Association and Independence Blue Cross donated to both parties, but only to male candidates. 


infogram_0_pacs_2016_pacs_who_gave_no_money_to_female_candidatesPACs who Gave the Most to Women Candidates (Total Dollars) in 2016//

To learn more about how PACs give to candidates based on gender, read our November 2016 report Individual and PAC Giving to Women Candidates here.  




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