Sunlight Weekly Roundup: Super Pacs on Super Tuesday

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With Super Tuesday quickly approaching, we decided to take a look at what local bloggers in Super Tuesday states are saying about how super PACs have been shaping their respective political landscapes.

  • Valerie Joyner of the Blue Ridge Review blog took a look into campaign contributions of Virginia candidate for Blue Ridge Supervisor, Janet Clarke. Joyner alleges that Clarke has gotten many contributions from special interests. According to official reports, Janet Clarke has raised over $91,000.  Joyner maintains, “These numbers are in some cases double or triple the dollars raised by other candidates for Loudoun County Supervisor positions.” Joyner argues that Clarke should clear up questions about the origins of the donations. For instance, Clarke received donations from companies that have projects and business coming before the Board.  Furthermore, Joyner has concerns about contributions from PACs  and others with developer interests coming before the Board, such as donations from a company that has connections to “big box” stores. Joyner points out, “The question here is, because of these donations to her campaign, will Janet Clarke recluse herself if and when a contributor’s issue comes before the Board?”
  • The blog Real Loudon raises questions about the campaign contributions of Loudon County supervisor Geary Higgins. The blog points out that Higgins was one of several  recipients of a “remarkable flood of developer cash that flowed into Loudoun GOP coffers during this election cycle.” Using information compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project , the blog determined that Higgins’s largest source of cash out of the $126,276 he raked in was the $10,200 donated to his campaign by a PAC called “Citizens for Virginia’s Future.” The blog post maintains, “Perhaps needless to say, by the strangest of coincidences all of the 22 of the “citizens” who make up this group seem to be from the real estate and development industry.”
  • The Alaska Federation of Natives formed the super PAC “Alaskans Standing Together” to  use money from Native corporations to support Senator Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign. According to Shripathi Kamath,  “Murkowski was a known commodity, supporting federal entitlements for Native Alaskans as well as big-oil interests.” While Kamath is happy to see Alaska Natives have power in national politics, she worries about the influence special interests might have on the political process.  She writes, “The elephant in the room was the super PAC money being spent on advertising that overwhelmed anything seen before.”  For her take, she Kamath’s post on Director’s Cut. 
  • Melaleuca Inc, a company founded by Idaho Falls billionaire Frank VanderSloot , donated $1 million to Mitt Romney’s super PAC “Restore Our Future.” According to Dan Popkey, VanderSloot has been a longtime support of Romney’s: “VanderSloot is a national finance co-chairman for Romney and has been a backer of mostly Republican causes and candidates. He was a key supporter of the 2011 ‘Students Come First’ laws authored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.” For the entire story, see Popkey’s post on the Idaho Statesmen.
Connect with other transparency bloggers in this Transparency Bloggers Google group   and see what others are doing in the transparency movement by joining this Citizens for Open Government Google Group.
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