Super PACs are, by design, a tool for wealthy and powerful interests to exert greater influence in the political arena. HuffPost reports, "At the end of January, there were 59 donors who had given $500,000 or more to at least one super PAC. These donors, whose contributions total $80.12 million, accounted for 61 percent of all contributions to super PACs. Contributions from donors giving over $100,000 -- $111.1 million in total -- account for 85.5 percent of all super PAC donations.
Twenty of those individuals are billionaires or related to billionaires. The other 21 individuals are millionaires and, in a few cases, have a publicly estimated net worth above $500 million.
The sheer number of super PACs may also give the illusion of diffuse political voices. This is also deceiving. While 358 super PACs have been created since the FEC officially allowed their formation in July 2010, only 161 have raised any money at all. Of those 161 super PACs, the 35 groups raising more than $1 million each accounted for 91 percent of all donations."
Who are these donors? "Forty-one are individuals. Nine are corporations. Seven are unions. The final two are a trade group and a nonprofit funding their own super PACs." Check out HuffPost's slideshow (at the bottom of the linked article) of all donors giving more than $500,000 to super PACs.
These mega-donors are now feeling the burn of the spotlight. HuffPost's Sam Stein reports, "Going after the big political donors has always been considered fair game. But the advent of super PACs in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has forced campaigns to ramp up what once was a side component of opposition research. The goal, increasingly, is not just to draw attention to the big givers, but also to make their lives miserable."
In response to the super PAC's ability to grab unlimited money from billionaires and millionaires Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is calling for the elimination of limits on contributions directly to candidates.
Why I Am Leaving Restore Our Future. From Buzzfeed.
A super PAC has formed to back the Senate campaign of Tim Kaine in Virginia. Republican George Allen already has a super PAC.
Mitt Romney's super PAC is going up with an ad buy in Wisconsin of more than $400,000, according to the Miwaukee Journal Sentinel.
A Romney super PAC mailing in Louisiana accidentally listed the wrong day for the primary.
Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel spent last week raising money from payday lenders in the Bahamas.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Committee: Richard Mourdock for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Richard Lugar
Committee: Donald Manzullo for Congress
Candidate Opposed: Adam Kinzinger
Spot: "National Labor Relations Board"
Committee: Scott Brown for Senate
Spot: "Red Sox"
Market: Massachusetts. (Radio ad)
Committee: American Bridge 21st Century
Candidate Opposed: Connie Mack
Spot: "Connie 'Sheen' Mack: Winning?"
Buy: None. Just a web video.
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), $9,723,209 to support, $18,430,466 to oppose. (Support: +$7,292, Oppose: +$24,750)
Rick Santorum (R), $6,059,436 to support, $15,813,668 to oppose. (Support: +$282,257, Oppose: +$1,492,666)
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
Suburban Voters for Choice, $13,100 to support Raja Krishnamoorthi for Congress in Illinois' 8th District.
Restore Our Future, $1,378,499 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Illinois.
Restore Our Future, $52,715 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Louisiana.
Red White And Blue Fund, $281,046 to support Rick Santorum for President in Louisiana.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $9,521 to support Deborah Halvorsen for Congress in Illinois' 2nd District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $600 to oppose Donald Manzullo for Congress in Illinois' 16th District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $26,952 to oppose Donald Manzullo for Congress in Illinois' 16th District.
MoveOn.org, $61,452 to oppose Rick Santorum for President.
Strong America Now, $7,292 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Alabama.
Restore Our Future, $18,279 to oppose Newt Gingrich for President in Alabama.
Restore Our Future, $6,471 to oppose Newt Gingrich for President in Mississippi.
Susan B. Anthony List, $1,211 to support Rick Santorum for President.
RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS
Community Empowerment Coalition, San Marcos, Calif., Treasurer: Xavier Martinez.
Arizona for Liberty, Brighton, Mich., Treasurer: Douglas J. Edwards. (Super PAC)
Texans for Action, Los Fresnos, Texas, Treasurer: Alberto Escobedo. (Super PAC)
Conservatives for Principled Leadership, Washington, D.C., Treasurer: Michael G. Adams.
Environmental Action, Washington, D.C., Treasurer: Judith Zamore. (Super PAC)
New Virginia PAC, Alexandria, Va., Treasurer: Judith Zamore. (Super PAC)
Texas Strategic Alliance, Brownsville, Texas, Treasurer: Maria G. Arizmendi. (Super PAC)
Inland Empire Taxpayers For Jobs, Sacramento, Calif., Treasurer: Robert Masseth. (Super PAC)
Stop Borrowing, Federal Way, Wash., Treasurer: Don Hyun.
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