POLITICS
03/12/2012 05:12 pm ET | Updated Mar 12, 2012

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- Union Efforts Boosted By Citizens United

Unions are planning a spending blitz to help re-elect President Barack Obama and are going to be able to spend money in new ways thanks to the Supreme Court's controversial Citizens United ruling. According to the New York Times, "The same Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that set the stage for these political action committees to accept unlimited donations also allowed unions to send their foot soldiers to visit not just union members at home, but also voters who do not belong to unions — a move expected to increase labor’s political clout significantly in this year’s elections.

Unions first used their expanded ability in a big way in Ohio last November to educate and mobilize both union and nonunion voters in a battle to repeal a law that curbed bargaining rights for Ohio’s teachers, firefighters and other public employees. Spurred by 17,000 union volunteers, labor won in a blowout, with Ohioans voting 62 percent to 38 percent to repeal a law that the Republican-dominated Legislature had enacted seven months earlier."

Sen. Orrin Hatch blasted calls for the IRS to investigate nonprofits engaging in political activity for abusing their tax-exempt status: “Politics must not play any role in the IRS’ decision-making process. Unfortunately, this request from the other side of the aisle puts the IRS in an untenable and unacceptable situation for what I hope are not political ends. It’s pretty hard not to draw that conclusion since the White House and its congressional allies are talking out of both sides of their mouths by accepting unprecedented sums of big labor and rich liberal money. I also find the timing somewhat suspect -- we never heard a peep from the other side in previous election cycles when they were reaping the benefits of these types of organizations. Sending the IRS on a politically-motivated witch hunt is simply unacceptable and could have a chilling impact on the constitutionally-protected right to free speech. I expect the IRS not to succumb to this type of political posturing.”

Meanwhile, a reform coalition is offering a $25,000 bounty for anyone who is able to reveal a for-profit corporation contribution to a political nonprofit that is not disclosing its donors.

Congressional races are set to be the next battleground for super PACs.

Despite all the noise about super PAC spending this year's GOP primary race has been the cheapest in recent history. That's more a testament to the sad slate of candidates the party fielded this cycle than anything else. If it weren't for Rick Perry's early on-set Alzheimer's and Tim Pawlenty's lack of spinal fortitude Mitt Romney would have likely faced two opponents with strong donor bases who could contribute to their campaigns and to a supporting super PAC. That's not even to mention the candidates with even stronger donor bases (Chris Christie, Jeb Bush) that sat out the race.

The super PAC created by FreedomWorks, a nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, receives more than half of its money from the non-disclosing nonprofit.

The 60 Plus Association rolls out Pat Boone for another round of "Obama cut your Medicare" ads in battleground Senate states. The total ad buy across Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Montana reaches $3.5 million.

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: Orrin Hatch for Senate
Spot: "Mitt Romney: Keep Orrin Hatch Fighting For Utah"
Market: Utah.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: 60 Plus Association
Candidate Opposed: Sherrod Brown, Claire McCaskill, Bill Nelson, Jon Tester, Debbie Stabenow
Spot: "Urge Sen. ___ to support real Medicare reform"
Market: Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Montana, and Michigan.
Buy: $3.5 million.

Committee: Barack Obama for President
Spot: "How Emily Benefits from the Affordable Care Act"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Barack Obama for President
Spot: "Living With Half A Heart: The Lihn Family's Health Care Story"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Barack Obama for President
Spot: "Spike Dolomite Ward and the Pre-Existing Condition Health Coverage Plan"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Barack Obama for President
Spot: "Tough Decisions: 'The Road We've Traveled' Teaser"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Adam Kinzinger for Congress
Candidate Opposed: Donald Manzullo
Spot: "Did you forget?"
Market: IL-16.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Newt Gingrich for President
Spot: "Chuck Norris Doesn't Endorse: He Makes Reality"
Market: Mississippi, Alabama. (Robocalls)
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Newt Gingrich for President
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Why Romney Can't Beat Obama"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Dan Llijenquist for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Orrin Hatch
Spot: "Words"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

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), $9,748,667 to support, $18,405,716 to oppose. (+$2,750)
Rick Santorum (R), $5,888,428 to support, $14,321,002 to oppose. (+$111,249)
Mitt Romney (R), $2,256,992 to support, $5,869,021 to oppose.
Rick Perry (R), $4,167,697 to support, $1,404 to oppose.
Ron Paul (R),$3,746,817 to support, $133,333 to oppose.
Jon Huntsman (R), $2,453,204 to support, $0 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $287,153 to support, $863,197 to oppose.
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

Strong America Now, $2,750 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Mississippi.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $1,500 to oppose Jo Bonner for Congress in Alabama's 1st District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $9,702 to oppose Spencer Bachus for Congress in Alabama's 6th District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $3,315 to oppose Jo Bonner for Congress in Alabama's 1st District.
CULAC The PAC of the Credit Union National Association, $27,771 to support Spencer Bachus for Congress in Alabama's 6th District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $600 to oppose Jo Bonner for Congress in Alabama's 1st District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $5,000 to oppose Spencer Bachus for Congress in Alabama's 6th District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $4,000 to support Deborah Halvorsen for Congress in Illinois' 2nd District.
FreedomWorks for America, $21,964 to oppose Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.
Susan B. Anthony List, $349 to support Rick Santorum for President.
Conservative Action Fund, $43,170 to oppose Spencer Bachus for Congress in Alabama's 6th District.
Red White And Blue Fund, $36,507 to support Rick Santorum for President in Alabama.
Red White And Blue Fund, $43,408 to support Rick Santorum for President in Mississippi.
Susan B. Anthony List, $10,301 to support Rick Santorum for President.
FreedomWorks for America, $9,912 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
FreedomWorks for America, $1,748 to oppose Richard Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
FreedomWorks for America, $23,228 to oppose Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.
Red White And Blue Fund, $30,985 to support Rick Santorum for President in Kansas.
FreedomWorks for America, $29,855 to oppose Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Citizens for Middle East Policy, Oak Park, Ill. Treasurer: Farah Ali.
Youth Empowerment Community Action Corporation, Jacksonville, Fla., Treasurer: Lakateria Whitted.
National Tax Sheltered Accounts Association PAC, Alexandria, Va., Treasurer: Brian Graff.
No Dirty Money Elections (NOD$E), Palo Alto, Calif., Treasurer: Kit Husty.
Independence Virginia PAC, Reston, Va., Treasurer: Paul Bennecke. (Super PAC)

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

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