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HUFFPOST FUNDRACE - Mr. Negativity

First Posted: 02/ 6/2012 7:10 pm Updated: 02/ 6/2012 7:10 pm

Who's behind those negative ads that have dogged Newt Gingrich throughout the primary? None other than Larry McCarthy, of Willie Horton fame. The New Yorker's Jane Mayer profiles McCarthy and his brand of negative advertising: "McCarthy, who is fifty-nine, helps direct the pro-Romney group Restore Our Future, one of the hundreds of new Super PACs--technically independent political-action committees set up by supporters of the candidates--that are dramatically reshaping the Presidential election. PACs have existed since the nineteen-forties, but for decades an individual donation was limited to five thousand dollars. The power of PACs increased exponentially in 2010, when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals could spend without limit--and pool their money in PACs--to influence elections, as long as they didn't fund candidates directly. Super PACs have already injected fifty-six million dollars into the 2012 race, most of it going to negative advertising. Restore Our Future has spent seventeen million dollars--more than any other PAC--and fifteen million of that has gone to producing and airing ads made by McCarthy's firm, McCarthy Hennings Media. By contrast, Romney's official campaign has spent only eleven million on ads. The Super PAC is technically fighting a proxy battle on behalf of Romney, but in practice it has become the head warrior."

As if on cue for a Larry McCarthy profile comes this ad from Michigan Senate candidate Republican Pete Hoekstra. The ad features an Asian-American actress speaking forced-pidgin English while standing in a field of rice paddies (something that James Fallows says is more evocative of Vietnam than modern China). Hoekstra insists that the ad in no way has a racial element and, in a fundraising e-mail to supporters, attacked Democrats for "crying racism."

Dan Eggen reports on how more secret money leads to more problems.

Mother Jones profiles one of the many pyramid scheme companies supporting Mitt Romney and his super PAC.

Was this Chrysler Super Bowl ad making a political statement?

Koch Bros. meet up with their bros to determine how to spend $100 million to defeat Obama.

Convicted felon and alleged good government convert Jack Abramoff spoke at Public Citizen today. Reporters are still trying to figure out why they attended.

AD WATCH

Help us populate our list of campaign videos. Send any notable TV, radio or web ads that you see to Fundrace. Send your submissions to paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

Committee: Barack Obama for President
Spot: "President Obama's Record On Jobs"
Link: [Link]
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Americans for Prosperity
Candidate Supported: Ronald Reagan
Spot: "Happy 101st Birthday President Reagan"
Link: [Link]
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: AFSCME
Candidate Opposed: Jan Brewer
Spot: "Gov. Brewer is wrong!"
Link: [Link]
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

TRACKING INDEPENDENT SPENDING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate for the presidency in 2012. Fundrace will update this spending daily to help show which candidates are gaining from the proliferation of independent groups in this coming election.

Newt Gingrich (R), $5,226,377 to support, $17,062,904 to oppose.
Mitt Romney (R), $2,216,953 to support, $5,076,110 to oppose.
Rick Perry (R), $4,167,697 to support, $1,404 to oppose.
Ron Paul (R), $3,630,125 to support, $133,333 to oppose. (+$3,168)
Jon Huntsman (R), $2,453,204 to support, $0 to oppose.
Rick Santorum (R), $2,235,927 to support, $397,503 to oppose. (+$53,896)
Barack Obama (D), $24,468 to support, $685,730 to oppose.
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

Endorse Liberty, $837 to support Ron Paul for President.
Red White And Blue Fund, $15,606 to support Rick Santorum for President in Missouri.
Red White And Blue Fund, $31,790 to support Rick Santorum for President in Colorado.
Endorse Liberty, $939 to support Ron Paul for President.
Endorse Liberty, $1,391 to support Ron Paul for President.
FreedomWorks for America, $24,836 to oppose Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS
United States PAC, Los Angeles, Calif., Treasurer: Jason Cisco.
Reaching Stars - Securing Our Future, San Diego, Calif., Treasurer: Erik Hanley. (Super PAC)
Salesforce.com, San Francisco, Calif., Treasurer: Elizabeth Allen.
Americans for a Better Way Forward, Lainsburg, Mich., Treasurer: Paul Kilgore. (Super PAC)

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