Political Action Committees (PACs) spent a record $416 million in the 2008 federal elections — most on candidates for the House and Senate.

As one who once ran the multi-million dollar PAC for the National Association of Realtors — at the time the largest in the nation — I can say as an absolute fact that those who sign the checks don’t do so without expecting something in return.

PAC contributions fall into two categories — payment for services received or an investment for services that special interest group expects to receive.

In 1988, as the Vice President for Political Programs for the Realtors, I debated Republican Congressman Guy Vander Jagt — at the time the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) on National Public Radio.

"PACs," Vander Jagt said, "are nothing but whores."

"There’s a problem with your comparison," I replied. "Where I come from, whores aren’t the ones who pay. Whores are the ones who stand there with their hand out, demanding payment for a service that they are — at the time — only promising to deliver. We should remember that when one pays out money in that fashion, the very best they will ever get is screwed."

PACs spent record $416M on federal election – The president shunned contributions from political action committees but they could still influence his agenda because of Congress.