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HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- Santorum Merges With Super PAC, Gingrich Thanks Super PAC Donors

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Rick Santorum, fresh off the trail as a presidential candidate, has settled down at the independent super PAC that boosted his candidacy with millions of dollars in advertisements. Santorum sent out an announcement from the Red White And Blue Fund that he was endorsing Jon Bruning in the Nebraska Republican Senate primary. According to Politico, "According to sources familiar with the RWB Fund’s plans, that group is going to be the vehicle for his political activities now that his 2012 campaign is over. The endorsement of Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning’s campaign is the start of that."

At the same time, Gingrich, while bowing out of the presidential race, made sure to give extra special thanks to two people, "And of course, while they weren't directly associated with the campaign, it would be impossible for me to be here without Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who single-handedly came very, very close to matching Romney's super-PAC. I'm very, very grateful." The Adelson's gave $21.5 million to the super PAC backing Gingrich's campaign.

How's that independence doing?

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer endorsed a state initiative to reverse the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling by declaring that corporations are not people and cannot spend money on politics in the state. As Schweitzer told HuffPost, "Montana's going first, but we have before ... It was Montana in 1912 that banned corporate money from our elections. We don't mind leading and we believe it has to start somewhere. This business of allowing corporations to bribe their way into government has got to stop."

Michael Beckel of iWatch News looks into whether Rep. Aaron Schock may have solicited for $25,000 contributions to a super PAC more than once. It's against FEC rules for a member of Congress to solicit contributions in excess of $5,000 for a super PAC.

HuffPost's Sam Stein reports on a study by the Wesleyan Media Project showing that super PACs and negative ads have dominated the presidential race so far. HuffPost, "The acidic change in tone is owed to the rise of interest groups and super PACs in the electoral process, the study concludes. Whereas in 2008, candidate-sponsored ads made up 96.6 percent of total 'airings,' as of April 22, 2012, that percentage had dropped to 35.8 percent. Campaigns, in short, are outsourcing their airwave operations to allied groups, who in turn are going negative."

Unions are balking at filling up Democratic National Convention coffers.

Former NYSE head Dick Grasso would launch a super PAC to support a New York City mayoral bid by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, if he decides to run, according to the New York Times. Here's a good explanation of what campaign finance oversight for super PACs looks like in New York City.

NBC First Read runs down the swing media markets, those that went for Bush in 2004 and Obama in 2008. If you live in any of these places expect to see a huge amount of political advertising.

The Sunlight Foundation finds that the majority of ad buys in the presidential race are occurring in media markets that would not be immediately impacted by new Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rules requiring online disclosure of political ad buys.

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: American Crossroads
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Backward"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Mitt Romney for President
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Broken Promises: Energy"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Veterans for a Secure America
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Why does President Obama take so much credit for killing Bin Laden?"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Shelley Berkley for Senate
Spot: "Bailey"
Market: Nevada.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Marty Chavez for Congress
Spot: "Balloon"
Market: New Mexico's 1st District.
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), $13,017,772 to support, $18,885,161 to oppose.
Rick Santorum (R), $7,548,235 to support, $20,923,379 to oppose.
Mitt Romney (R), $3,317,306 to support, $8,676,753 to oppose.
Rick Perry (R), $4,167,697 to support, $1,404 to oppose.
Ron Paul (R), $3,748,218 to support, $214,158 to oppose.
Jon Huntsman (R), $2,453,204 to support, $0 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $298,856 to support, $1,071,699 to oppose.
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

Majority PAC, $6,000 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
Citizens for a Working America, $30,282 to support Susan Brooks for Congress in Indiana's 5th District.
Citizens for a Working America, $14,666 to support Luke Messer for Congress in Indiana's 6th District.
Senate Conservatives Fund, $295,525 to support Don Stenberg for Senate in Nebraska.
FreedomWorks for America, $91 to support Josh Mandel for Senate in Ohio.
FreedomWorks for America, $10,127 to oppose Sherrod Brown for Senate in Ohio.
FreedomWorks for America, $10,281 to support Ted Cruz for Senate in Texas.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $3,060 to support David McIntosh for Congress in Indiana's 5th District.
Indiana Values Super PAC, $85,000 to oppose Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
Club for Growth Action, $194,407 to oppose Jon Bruning for Senate in Nebraska.
National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund, $77,829 to support Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.
National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund, $34,583 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund, $34,583 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
USA Super PAC, $97,491 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Penn Staters for A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, New City, N.Y., Treasurer: Remy Michelle Maisal. (Super PAC)
Utes for A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Morgan, Utah, Treasurer: Joshua Mines. (Super PAC)
American's For Internet Freedom, Plainview, N.Y., Treasurer: Paul Norman Mager. (Super PAC)
University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, Honolulu, Hawaii, Treasurer: Paulette Feeney.
Allies of Israel PAC, Brooklyn, N.Y., Treasurer: Rodney Velasco. (Super PAC)
The John F. Kennedy Policy Center, Albuquerque, N.M., Treasurer: Michael Weber.
American Strategic Alliance, Austin, Texas, Treasurer: Murray H. Van Eman. (Super PAC)
Americans for a More American America, Waltham, Mass., Treasurer: Michael Anthony Invernale. (Super PAC)
AFT Guild Local 1931 San Diego And Grossmont Community Colleges Federal Committee on Political Education, Encinitas, Calif., Treasurer: Robin Stephen.
America's Super PAC For The Permanent Elimination of America's Super PACs, Merrillville, Ind., Treasurer: Jonathan Rachowicz. (Super PAC)

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

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