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Industry Politics
Founded 1978
Founder Governor Pete du Pont
Headquarters 2300 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 1305 Arlington, VA 22201
Key people
Revenue $400,057 (2013)

GOPAC is a Republican (GOP) state and local political training organization. Although often thought of as a PAC, or Political Action Committee, it is actually a 527 organization. It describes itself as "the premier training organization for Republican candidates in elected office on the state and local levels". GOPAC's mission is "educating and electing a new generation of Republican leaders".


GOPAC was founded by Delaware Governor Pierre S. du Pont, IV in 1978 in "an effort to build a farm team of Republican officeholders who could then run for congress or higher state offices later".[1] On February 1, 2007, former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele became the chairman and served until his election as chairman of the Republican National Committee in January 2009. The current chairman of GOPAC is David Avella.[1]

Others who have chaired GOPAC include former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, former Georgia Representative and Secretary of the Army Bo Callaway, California Representative David Dreier, Arizona Representative John Shadegg, former Oklahoma Representative J.C. Watts, Gay Gaines and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia.

Instructional tapes used to train aspiring Republican politicians from 1986 to 1994 were selected by the Library of Congress as a 2010 addition to the National Recording Registry for their influence in "shaping political discourse". The Library of Congress selects recordings annually that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[2]

GOPAC memo of 1994[edit]

The "GOPAC memo", called "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control", was written and distributed to members of the Republican Party by Gingrich in 1994. It contained a list of "contrasting words" and "optimistic positive governing words" that Gingrich recommended for use in describing Democrats and Republicans, respectively. For example, words to use against opponents include decay, failure (fail), collapse(ing), deeper, crisis, urgent(cy), destructive, destroy, sick, pathetic, lie, liberal, they/them, unionized bureaucracy, "compassion" is not enough, betray, consequences, limit(s), shallow, traitors, sensationalists; words to use in defining a candidate's own campaign and vision included share, change, opportunity, legacy, challenge, control, truth, moral, courage, reform, prosperity, crusade, movement, children, family, debate, compete, active(ly), we/us/our, candid(ly), humane, pristine, provide.

The cover page of the memo said: "The words in that paper are tested language from a recent series of focus groups where we actually tested ideas and language."[3][4]

The comic strip Doonesbury mentions the memo in a strip, calling it the "Magna Carta of attack politics."[5]


  1. ^ a b "Chairman's Corner". GOPAC. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  2. ^ "The National Recording Registry 2010". Library of Congress. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control". Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. February 1, 1995. 
  4. ^ "GOPAC Memo on Language (1990)". Archived from the original on September 2, 2013. 
  5. ^ Trudeau, Garry (September 21, 2008). "Doonesbury". G.B. Trudeau. 

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