Special-interest political-action committees poured $55 million into 1980 House and Senate elections, with big business outspending labor, the Federal Election Commission reports. But Democratic candidates still ended up getting slightly more money, because -- while big business gave its money to Republicans by a ratio of only 2 to 1 -- labor gave its money to Democrats at a rate of more than 12 to 1.
Democrats got just over $29 million in political action committee contributions, while Republicans received $26 million, the report says.
Altogether, 1,095 corporate groups gave $19 million to congressional candidates, 490 trade and health groups gave $17 million, and 240 labor organizations were third, giving $13 million.
Some 240 other, nonconnected groups, including anti-abortion and progun organizations and political groups like the National Conservative Political Action Committee, gave $5 million to candidates.
An earlier report showed that for the first time in the 1980 elections, House and Senate candidates received more from political action committees than from individual contributors. A record total of 2,779 political action committees registered with the commission took in $138 million during the 1980 election cycle and spent $133 million.