John McCaslin


The money chase by political action committees continued its upward climb in 2007-2008, raising $1.2 billion, according to new figures from the Federal Election Commission.

That said, Inside the Beltway has obtained a pair of Top 10 lists identifying the country's leading PACs during the last election cycle, starting with "receipts." The wealthiest on the list is ActBlue, the nation's largest source of funds for Democrats; followed by; the Service Employees International Union Committee on Political Education; the pro-choice group Emily's List; the Fred Thompson PAC, the actor and former Tennessee Republican senator's PAC is valued at more than $24.5 million; the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees; the National Rifle Association of America Victory Fund; the National Association of Realtors PAC; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters' Democrat Republican Independent Voter Education; and finally, the Service Employees International Union.

Meanwhile, PAC contributions to federal candidates during the last election cycle totaled $412.8 million, up 11 percent from 2005-2006. The No. 1 PAC on the list by "contributions to candidates" is the National Association of Realtors, followed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AT&T, the National Beer Wholesalers, the National Automotive Dealers Association, the American Bankers Association, the International Association of Firefighters, the American Association for Justice, Honeywell International and finally, the National Association of Home Builders.


An Orlando Sentinel cartoon published on the op-ed page of The Washington Times was attracting plenty of attention at CIA headquarters Monday, Inside the Beltway was told by a high-ranking official at the spy agency.

In the cartoon, President Obama, clutching a sheaf of papers that say "Torture Memos Public," tells a CIA officer donning a trenchcoat, "I've decided not to prosecute you for helping to keep us safe since 9/11."

The CIA officer did not appear to be amused ... or reassured.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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