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Rick Perry Presidential Bid Supported By Three Super PACs In Key Primary States

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RICK PERRY

WASHINGTON -- A new Super PAC, Jobs for Iowa, released an ad yesterday touting Texas Governor Rick Perry for an as-yet-unannounced run in the Republican presidential primary.

The advertisement asks, "What if we had a candidate for President who had a real record of creating jobs?" The answer, according to the group, is that Perry's record as governor includes job creation efforts stronger than those of any other candidate.

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Jobs for Iowa is just one of three Super PACs created earlier this year that offer little identifying information. The other committees, Jobs for South Carolina and Jobs for Florida, are also placed in key primary states.

Super PACs are independent political committees that can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions. They were created after a wave of court decisions, including the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, opened the door to direct corporate and union contributions to certain political efforts.

In June, Texas lawyer Chris Gober, the general counsel to the three committees, declined to explain their purpose to HuffPost.

"We aren't going to disclose what our purpose is at this point," Gober said. "We'll obviously have to file with the [Federal Election Commission] and then surmise what's going on there."

The committees filed mid-year reports with the FEC in July, but did not disclose any contributions or expenses.

Each committee lists as its address a location in Henderson, Nevada, a Las Vegas suburb, that counts dozens of businesses -- including multiple law firms, some with connections to politicians in Nevada -- as tenants of a single suite.

After forming, the committees were initially suspected to be supportive of the candidacy of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The treasurer for all three committees is Rob Jentgrens, the former deputy counsel to Romney's 2008 campaign. It is clear now that the committees will be supporting a bid by Perry if he does jump into the race.

Already, Perry had the backing of another Super PAC, Americans for Rick Perry, for his nascent presidential bid. Americans for Rick Perry reported raising $190,000 in two weeks in June, $100,000 of which came from Texas billionaire Harold Simmons. The group reported raising an additional $200,000 since the June report was filed.

With four Super PACs supporting a bid for president, Perry donors will have an unprecedented number of options when seeking to support his run. The rules for contributing to Super PACs are much like Texas state campaign finance rules, which do not limit contributions.

Over the past few weeks, Perry has been meeting with donors in Austin to gauge support for an entry into the 2012 Republican field. The Texas governor has a huge network of wealthy donors to tap if he jumps into the race. According to a report from Texans for Public Justice, Perry pulled in half of the $104 million he raised for his three gubernatorial campaigns from just 204 mega-donors.

Two other Republican candidates also have Super PAC support in the primary. Mitt Romney is supported by the cash-rich Restore Our Future PAC, which has raised $12.2 million, and Ron Paul supporters opened the Revolution PAC in July, allowing it to skip the most recent disclosure filing period.

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