Super PAC floodgates open


Whether you consider it a case of raging hypocrisy or a common sense decision not to unilaterally disarm — and there will be plenty of predictably partisan views on both sides — President Obama's decision to greenlight donations to a super PAC that former staffers formed last year is confirmation that the influence of big money on politics is about to get exponentially bigger.

In a prescient piece of eye-opening analysis, our colleagues Lee Drutman and Jacob Fenton today take a look at how donations to super PACs took off at the presidential campaign intensified in the week's leading up to the first balloting. The announcement from the Obama campaign, made late last night in an email to supporters from campaign manager Jim Messina, is certain to make the trend line even steeper. 

Later today, we'll be taking a look at how some super PACs are using undisclosed donations from 501(c)4s to help underwrite office operations — freeing more money for the negative ads that have been dominating the airwaves.

The president famously delivered a public scolding to the Supreme Court for its decision in Citizens United, but he has effectively decided to play by the rules they set for the 2012 campaign. It may be a contest that turns on a bad economy, but as our analysis today suggests, the one sector that won't be hurting this year will be the political industrial complex.