Huffpost Politics
Paul Blumenthal Headshot

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE - Super PACs Inspire Universal Hatred

Posted: Updated:

Everyone hates super PACs. A Washington Post poll found that 70 percent of Americans want super PACs banned. Not really a surprise, but still, that's some bipartisan support.

Vice President Joe Biden declared today that GOP super PACs could raise up to $800 million to spend in the 2012 election. Is this possible? If we base this off of announced fundraising goals and include nonprofits like Americans for Prosperity and the Chamber of Commerce than that constellation of groups could, potentially, pull in an amount close to $800 million. The two Crossroads groups stated that they will raise $300 million and the Koch brothers announced a goal of $100 million for Americans for Prosperity and their other efforts. If we expect big spenders like the Chamber, American Action Network, and American Future Fund to exceed the combined $70 million they spent in 2010 we'll get closer to $500 or $600 million. Still, this is only if all of these groups meet their fundraising goals, which are very, very lofty.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, fundraising is still in the pits for the super PAC backing President Barack Obama. The group -- Priorities USA Action -- only raised $2 million in February, according to the New York Times. This comes after the Obama campaign announced their support for the group in an effort to help pick up the group's lagging fundraising. The comedian Bill Maher's $1 million contribution accounts for half of the total raised last month.

The biggest donor to super PACs so far this cycle is Texas billionaire Harold Simmons. The Sunlight Foundation runs a profile of Simmons, examining how he has leveraged his money for influence, at both the state and federal level, in the past.

Harold Simmons isn't the only super PAC donor who has played at the state level. According to HuffPost, "Among the big five super PAC donors -- the handful who have donated a full 25 percent of money flowing through super PACs -- Harold Simmons, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, and Bob Perry have all spread hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars at the state level."

Once upon a time, Rick Santorum decried the influence of PACs in politics.

Should unions embrace super PACs and Citizens United? The Center for Competitive Politics, which supports money in politics, says so and makes a good argument as to why.

FreedomWorks is spending big to remove Sen. Orrin Hatch from office in a primary in Utah.

Watching the primaries tonight: Check out HuffPost's graphic of super PAC spending in Alabama, Mississippi, and Hawaii. Santorum, again, finds himself under millions of dollars from Romney's Death Star. Gingrich's super PAC is trying it's hardest to boost their zombie candidate.

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: Democratic National Committee
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Mitt Romney Might Not Need Medicare, But Seniors Do"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Campaign for Primary Accountability
Candidate Opposed: Judy Biggert
Spot: "Rock the Boat: Send Judy Biggert Packing"
Market: IL-11.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Campaign for Primary Accountability
Candidate Opposed: Don Manzullo
Spot: "End Don Manzullo's Cruise"
Market: IL-16.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: American Crossroads
Candidate Opposed: Bob Kerrey
Spot: "Enough"
Market: Nebraska. (Radio ad)
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Ben Cardin for Senate
Spot: "My Friend Ben"
Market: Maryland.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Bob Kerrey for Senate
Spot: "Step Up"
Market: Nebraska.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Bob Kerrey for Senate
Spot: "Welcome Home"
Market: Nebraska.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Ted Cruz for Senate
Spot: "Delivered"
Market: Texas. (Radio ad)
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Mark Critz for Congress
Spot: "Fight for Them"
Market: PA-12.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Jason Altmire for Congress
Spot: "Ethic"
Market: PA-12
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Jason Altmire for Congress
Spot: "A Lot"
Market: PA-12
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), $9,836,817 to support, $18,405,716 to oppose. (+$120,900)
Rick Santorum (R), $5,843,131 to support, $14,345,795 to oppose. (Support: +$65,952, Oppose: +$24,793)
Mitt Romney (R), $2,256,992 to support, $5,919,021 to oppose. (+$50,000)
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

Red White And Blue Fund, $39,742 to support Rick Santorum for President in Mississippi.
Red White And Blue Fund, $22,265 to support Rick Santorum for President in Alabama.
Strong Utah PAC, $8,000 to support Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.
USAction for a True Majority, $2,900 to oppose Brad Schneider for Congress in Illinois' 10th District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $3,002 to oppose Spencer Bachus for Congress in Alabama's 6th District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $2,267 to oppose Jo Bonner for Congress in Alabama's 1st District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $24,618 to oppose Donald Manzullo for Congress in Illinois' 16th District.
Susan B. Anthony List, $3,945 to support Rick Santorum for President.
Restore Our Future, $6,500 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Mississippi.
Restore Our Future, $18,293 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Alabama.
Strength & Liberty PAC, $50,000 to oppose Mitt Romney for President.
Winning Our Future, $120,900 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Mississippi.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Williams Mullen PAC, Washington, D.C., Treasurer: Michael J. Ferrell.
The Urban PAC, Washington, D.C., Treasurer: Jay M. Linford.

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