Outside groups have spent more than $1 billion trying to influence this year's election, and the tidal wave of special interest money so no signs of abating in the 10 days that remain before Election Day.
The total, tabulated by Sunlight's Follow the Unlimited Money, is especially mind-boggling considering that it comes in a campaign that has focused largely on the anemic economy and underscores the changed landscape in the first presidential campaign to be contested following the Supreme Court 2010 decision in Citizens United, which opened the door for deep-pocketed donors to flaunt their wealth in ways ...Continue reading
A sketch of the Stealthy Wealthy
Here are some of the donors we've featured so far in our continuing Stealthy Wealthy series. Keep watching for more. Meanwhile, Sunlight will be watching to see what these business people are seeking as a return on their investments.Continue reading
Democratic super PACs come into their own
Democratic super PACs, which earlier this year lagged far behind their Republican counterparts, passed a milestone in August: they took more in contributions into their coffers than GOP super PACs: $28 million versus $22 million. Filings covering September are due this Saturday.
It may be more of a photo-finish than it first appears: a portion of the Democratic groups' take involve PAC-to-PAC transfers, which are difficult to extricate from the totals due to way reports are filed with the Federal Election Commission. But quarterly filings that landed Monday leave little doubt that the Democratic super PACs, including Priorities USA and ...Continue reading
Super PAC Profile: CREDO takes aim at House freshmen
The CREDO SuperPAC exists in spite of—or because of?—its own desire to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that led to the creation of super PACs. “We wouldn't launch this SuperPAC unless we felt it was absolutely necessary to fight back,” says the group's website. But this sort of self-loathing isn’t the group's only unusual trait. Among organizations whose purpose is to obscure funding sources, CREDO is unique in its transparency.
For one thing, the group's name conspicuously excludes words like ‘freedom,‘ ‘future,’ ‘fund’ and ‘restore,' (see a list here) and makes ...Continue reading
Super PAC profile: American Bridge 21st Century
The recent buzz that one of the frontrunners to be Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, had registered as a foreign agent for the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti came from American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC that's spent most of its money not on attack ads, but on opposition research.
The registration was old news: A July 17 Washington Post profile of Portman, seen at right, noted it, along with a Patton Boggs attorney's statement that, though registered, Portman hadn't represented Haiti. But it shows that independent ...Continue reading
Super PAC Profile: Workers’ Voices the super PAC of the average citizen?
Just four months after the AFL-CIO announced the formation of its super PAC, Workers' Voice, the group has emerged as a major force, ranking No. 10 among super PACs in terms of money collected as of the end of July, with more than $7 million already spent, and the backing of the House of Labor's treasury.
However, the union super PAC weathered a major disappointment in its first outing: It was formed as part of an unsuccessful effort to unseat Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., in a June 2012 recall election.
Since its inception, Workers’ Voice has branded itself the ...Continue reading
Super PAC profile: Ending Spending aids Palin-endorsed Senate hopeful in Nebraska
A Florida-based super PAC that made more than $1 million in contributions in 2010, almost all of it underwritten by the former CEO of online brokerage TD Ameritrade, is emerging as a factor in Tuesday's Republican Senate primary in Nebraska.
In the three days before the election, the Ending Spending Action Fund has dumped almost $255,000 into the race to help Deb Fischer, a state senator who has suddenly turned an already-heated contest for the GOP Senate nomination into a three-way race. The group has not yet disclosed any donors this year, but in the 2010 campaign cycle ...Continue reading
Super PAC profile: Twenty-something Ron Paul supporters found Liberty for All
A new super PAC funded almost entirely by a 21-year-old Ron Paul supporter and run by a 24-year-old political consultant is putting big bucks behind a tea party candidate running in a Kentucky congressional race.
So far, the group -- Liberty for All -- has spent $542,600 on campaign ads supporting Thomas Massie in a seven-way battle for the Republican nomination in the northern Kentucky district currently represented by retiring Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky. In addition to backing congressional candidates the new super PAC has pledged to help Paul in his effort to amass delegates to the Republican convention -- an effort ...Continue reading
Super PAC profile: Group focused on healthcare repeal has shadowy sister
This week, Restore America's Voice PAC has disclosed its first political spending of the 2012 election cycle--more than $50,000 worth of phone call fundraising pitches that mention President Barack Obama--but a shadowy nonprofit tied to the group has spent millions more attacking Obama and congressional Democrats for the healthcare reform act.
Restore America's Voice Foundation, a social welfare organization that does not have to disclose its donors, ran ads around the country in 2011 featuring former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. On one of its websites, Repealitnow.org, the group claims that the ads were "the only televised ...Continue reading
Super PAC profile: State bankers target lawmakers over Dodd Frank law
A group of state-based banking associations have launched a new Super PAC--known as "Friends of Traditional Banking"--to target lawmakers who they consider hostile or friendly to their concerns: namely, the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law.
"Everyone knows that traditional banks didn't cause the economic crisis, but that didn't stop Congress from heaping massive new regulations on them and their customers," reads the group's website. "The Dodd-Frank regulatory reform act...was supposed to target Wall Street abuses. It didn't. Instead it aimed squarely at traditional banks and their customers. When it all shakes out, it will reduce ...Continue reading