02/16/2012 05:56 pm ET

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- Take Aspirin for Super PAC Side Effects

Super PACs have mostly been a boon for candidates using them as performance enhancing advertising supplements. They can, however, come with some side effects including a lack of control over personalities that come to be associated with a candidate's campaign through funding or running a supposedly independent operation. Take, for example, the comments today from Foster Friess, the near-universal funder of Rick Santorum's super PAC. Friess told NBC's Andrea Mitchell that the recent debate over contraception has gotten out of hand and, anyways, "Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."

Santorum's campaign, trying to focus on beating Mitt Romney on his home turf in Michigan, now has to answer questions about Friess scolding women to just keep their legs shut. Santorum's spokesman had to state that they would not comment on "somebody that doesn't have any affiliation." It's hard to argue the lack of affiliation when the man has contributed more money than anyone else to help Santorum's campaign and has personally accompanied Santorum on the campaign trail. The president of the National Organization of Women is now calling on both Santorum and Friess to apologize to America's women.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, the super PAC funded almost entirely by Friess has made an advertising buy of $663,800 to support Santorum's campaign. The Romney super PAC, aptly dubbed the Death Star, reported last night spending more than $850,000 on ads in Michigan.

A corporate contribution to a super PAC in a hotly contested congressional primary between two Democratic members of Congress is becoming a hot button issue in the race.

Rick Perry has asked the Federal Election Commission how he can go about transforming his presidential campaign into either a political action committee or a super PAC. He is also wondering if he can transfer unspent funds that were earmarked for general election use to his gubernatorial campaign account in Texas. HuffPost discussed the transformation of presidential campaigns into PACs or super PACs back when Herman Cain dropped out of the race.

Apparently there's an Occupy Wall Street super PAC. The question with all new super PACs that aren't connected to a candidate or run by party operatives: will it join the ranks of the dozens of other super PACs that raise no money or raise no more than they could have as a traditional PAC? For all but a few super PACs, the registration has simply been a novelty.

Seven Democratic senators have called on the IRS to investigate nonprofits that are spending too much time on political expenses. The group of senators singled out Karl Rove and the group Crossroads GPS as a particular offender.

Are super PACs in the presidential race over-hyped? An interesting read aside from one error: Santorum's super PAC is not the only one that has undertaken direct voter contact efforts. Restore Our Future, the Romney super PAC, ran phone banks for the Florida primary. Those phone banks were, for the most part to deliver an anti-Gingrich message. There are ways to do voter contact without duplicating messages with a campaign.


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: Crossroads GPS
Candidate Opposed: Claire McCaskill
Spot: "Lemmings and Liberals"
Market: Missouri.
Buy: $65,000.

Committee: National Republican Congressional Committee
Candidate Opposed: Jerry McNerney
Spot: "Can't Buy Love"
Market: California.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: House Majority PAC
Candidate Opposed: Tom Latham
Spot: "Headlines"
Market: Iowa 3rd District.
Buy: $88,407.

Committee: Americans for Prosperity
Spot: "It's Working Wisconsin: Did It Right"
Market: Wisconsin.
Buy: Undisclosed.


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, $17,294,597 to oppose.
Mitt Romney (R), $2,216,953 to support, $5,073,236 to oppose.
Rick Perry (R), $4,167,697 to support, $1,404 to oppose.
Ron Paul (R),$3,679,653 to support, $133,333 to oppose. (+$1,433)
Rick Santorum (R), $2,280,326 to support, $1,283,489 to oppose. (+$885,986)
Jon Huntsman (R), $2,453,204 to support, $0 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $280,416 $287,153 to support, $760,389 to oppose. (Support: $6,737 Oppose: +$1,189)
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.


Restore Our Future, $885,985 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Michigan.
Freedom's Defense Fund, $7,925 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
Endorse Liberty, $1,433 to support Ron Paul for President.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $10,579 to support Dennis Kucinich for Congress in Ohio's Ninth District.


Ohioans for Opportunity, Columbus, Ohio, Treasurer: Jeffrey A. Ruppert. (Super PAC)
Occupy Wall Street PAC, Decatur, Ala., Treasurer: John Paul Thornton. (Super PAC)

Send tips, hints, submissions, rumors to HuffPost Fundrace at paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.