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Foster Friess, Santorum Super PAC Backer, Gets Cozy With Candidate

First Posted: 02/07/2012 10:56 pm Updated: 02/16/2012 1:47 pm

Standing right behind Rick Santorum (over his right shoulder) as he gave his victory speech in Missouri after the Republican primary Tuesday night was Foster Friess, the main financial backer of his super PAC.

Friess is a wealthy businessman and a bankroller of many conservative causes. His donations to the Red White And Blue super PAC have, more or less, given it the money needed to run the few ads it's aired. Among those ads include spots attacking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Minnesota, another state that Santorum won on Tuesday.

The campaign and the super PAC cannot legally coordinate. And it stands to reason that, legally speaking, having Friess next to Santorum on stage doesn't violate that rule. The former senator from Pennsylvania, after all, wasn't talking to Friess directly, nor was Santorum speaking explicitly about campaign strategy.

But the proximity of the donor to the candidate on Tuesday night is a wonderful illustration of the dangers of the new campaign finance system: Where big checks don't just get you a seat at the table, they get you a spot on the stage.

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