John Boehner: Obama Super PAC Decision 'Just Another Broken Promise'

02/07/2012 03:46 pm ET | Updated Feb 07, 2012

Hours after President Barack Obama's campaign decided to soften its stance toward super PACs, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) slammed the decision.

At a Tuesday news conference, Boehner was asked for his comment regarding the president's reversal.

"Just another broken promise," he said.

On Monday evening, Obama's re-election team announced its backing of Priorities USA, a super PAC run by former Obama aides. Obama has traditionally been a fervent opponent toward the organizations, dating back to the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision that spearheaded their creation.

Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina explained the decision, alluding to the millions of dollars spent by organizations supporting GOP presidential candidates. Via Obama 2012's official website:

With so much at stake, we can't allow for two sets of rules in this election whereby the Republican nominee is the beneficiary of unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm.

Therefore, the campaign has decided to do what we can, consistent with the law, to support Priorities USA in its effort to counter the weight of the GOP Super PAC. We will do so only in the knowledge and with the expectation that all of its donations will be fully disclosed as required by law to the Federal Election Commission.

In a Tuesday morning conference call, more details emerged about the change of political heart. Outside of millions of dollars flooding into GOP super PACs, another factor was the $500 million fundraising goal set by Crossroads groups and the Koch Brothers.

While Boehner was critical of Obama's decision, he's historically been against limitations on campaign fundraising. After the Supreme Court rolled back campaign finance restrictions in the landmark Citizens United case, Boehner called the decision "a big win for the First Amendment."

"Let the American people decide how much money is enough," Boehner said, according to NPR.

A few months later, when Democrats turned to the DISCLOSE Act to increase transparency among private groups investing in elections, Boehner expressed his opposition.

"Freedom of speech is the basis of our democracy," he said in a press release on the day that the House passed the bill. "The purpose of this bill, plain and simple, is to allow Democrats to use their Majority in this House to silence their political opponents. This is a backroom deal to shred our Constitution for raw, ugly, partisan gain."

The DISCLOSE Act fell by one vote in the Senate, which then-White House senior adviser and current Obama political adviser David Axelrod called a "significant" blow.

From the Democratic side of the aisle, Monday's Obama decision did not sit well with former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.). A heavy proponent of campaign finance laws, Feingold opposed the campaign's support of super PACs, telling The Huffington Post that "it is a dumb approach." Feingold proceeded to question how the move affects Democrats across the board.

"I also think it guts the president's message and the Democratic Party's message," Feingold said. "We are doing very well right now. The president is doing brilliantly. This is no time to blunt that message by starting to play this game."

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