The same excitement that made 2008 a fundraising record-breaker has also birthed a new generation of PACs, which hit a record high of their own this year.

For the past two decades, the number of PACs has hovered around 4,000, with new committees forming about as quickly as older PACs terminate their activities. But on Jan. 1, 2009, the 4,611 PACs were registered with the FEC—up 9 percent from the 4,234 a year earlier. Though a jump is expected during any presidential campaign, this increase is higher than even any presidential year since 1984.

Non-connected PACs saw the sharpest increase at 23 percent. They are still just barely outnumbered by corporate PACs, which only increased by 1 percent.

The FEC has a full set of data on the number of PACs since 1974.