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HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- Obama Says $25 Million For TV Ads In May

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The Obama campaign team announced plans to spend $25 million on advertisements in the month of May alone. HuffPost's Sam Stein reports, "Six months before the election, the Obama campaign has allotted a remarkable $25 million for ads to air in May alone, top officials told reporters on a conference call Monday. The figure is massive, underscoring both the extent to which the president's political team is confident that its fundraising success will be continuous, and its desire to not let Republicans define the president early in the general election contest. On the call, Obama adviser David Axelrod said that the campaign would treat ads run by super PACs and outside groups supportive of Mitt Romney as ads from the Romney campaign itself. Each would elicit a response he added, calling Karl Rove (Crossroads) and the Koch brothers (Americans for Prosperity) 'contract killers out there in super PAC land.'"

One of those groups is the Rove-linked Crossroads GPS. HuffPost's Dan Froomkin took a look at both their advertisements and their tax forms and finds that the group claims that a lot of its ads that look political on their face are actually just educational. This is how they secure non-profit status allowing them to maintain donor secrecy. Froomkin, "In order to promise anonymity to donors giving tens of millions -- sometimes $10 million at a time -- Rove and his colleagues called Crossroads GPS a “policy and grassroots advocacy” organization. The group insists that most of the ads the organization produces comprise "issue advocacy" rather than political campaign activity. It argues that since less than 50 percent of its budget goes to what it terms “direct” political spending, the group qualifies as being "primarily" a social welfare group. The big question the IRS will have to address, therefore, is whether the ads that Crossroads GPS and similar groups call "issue advocacy" ads are, in fact, "on behalf or in opposition to any candidate for public office." That would include ads like one attacking Democratic Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine for being “Obama’s partisan cheerleader,” or one savaging Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who at the time was running for reelection, for having “sold out to Obama,” or one attacking progressive Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren for, of all things, siding with big banks.

The super PAC supporting Mitt Romney in the presidential race is asking federal contractors -- who are supposed to be banned from making political donations -- to contact a lawyer before giving to the group. The super PAC has already taken contributions from federal contractors.

Super PACs are outspending their favorite candidate, Richard Mourdock, in the Indiana Republican Senate race, reports iWatch News.

The Obama campaign responds to questions about their online donation form, which conservatives have accused of lacking verification protections allowing for a range of fraudulent donations. The campaign states that they do use address verification and "Some transactions caught by AVS may initially appear to a donor to have been accepted even though this is not the case." A Federal Election Commission (FEC) audit of their 2008 campaign did not find any fraud from credit card donations.

Rep. Brad Sherman filed an FEC complaint against his opponent Rep. Howard Berman for illegally coordinating with a super PAC. Sherman alleges that it is improper coordination for one of Berman's consultants to also be on the payroll of the super PAC. The two congressmen are locked in a bitter primary contest after being redistricted into the same district.

Warren Buffett says that he opposes super PACs and won't give to them.

The AFL-CIO super PAC announced its first advertisement, a web ad targeting Mitt Romney. You can see it here.

The company 3M is taking heat from shareholders over its political donations and will face a shareholder resolution seeking political contribution transparency.

The Rick Santorum super PAC, which he is now directly affiliated with, filed papers to become a "Carey PAC," a dual purpose organization that can accept unlimited contributions like a super PAC for independent spending and accept limited contributions to make donations directly to candidates.

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: Barack Obama for President
Spot: "Go"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Mitt Romney for President
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Silence"
Market: Unknown.
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Committee: Republican National Committee
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Are We Satisfied? No!"
Market: Unknown.
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Committee: American Bridge 21st Century
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "What's Mitt Trying To Hide?"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Jon Tester for Senate
Spot: "Unprecedented Ethics & Accountability"
Market: Montana.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Dick Lugar for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Richard Mourdock
Spot: "Social Security"
Market: Indiana.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Dick Lugar for Senate
Spot: "Sheriffs for Lugar"
Market: Indiana.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: George LeMieux for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Connie Mack IV
Spot: "Lifestyles"
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Committee: Massachusetts Democratic Party
Candidate Opposed: Scott Brown
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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), $5,361,828 to support, $8,676,753 to oppose. (+$2,044,522)
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, $1,165,151 to oppose. (+$43,452)
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund, $12,437 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund, $12,437 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
USA Super PAC, $11,322 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $2,905 to support David McIntosh for Congress in Indiana's 5th District.
Restore America's Voice, $15,000 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
Restore America's Voice, $28,452 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
FreedomWorks for America $2,354 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
FreedomWorks for America, $40,571 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $11,900 to oppose Susan Brooks for Congress in Indiana's 5th District.
FreedomWorks for America, $5,558 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
FreedomWorks for America $3,141 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
Citizens for a Working America, $6,200 to support Luke Messer for Congress in Indiana's 6th District.
FreedomWorks for America, $22,437 to support David McIntosh for Congress in Indiana's 5th District.
Restore Our Future, $2,044,521 to support Mitt Romney for President.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $1,530 to support David McIntosh for Congress in Indiana's 5th District.
FreedomWorks for America $16,749 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
FreedomWorks for America, $2,584 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
Majority PAC, $228,518 to support Tim Kaine for Senate in Virginia.
Majority PAC, $9,000 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
Western Representation PAC, $9,750 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $48,880 to support David McIntosh for Congress in Indiana's 5th District.
Club for Growth Action, $3,816 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
Club for Growth Action, $3,246 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
Citizens for a Working America, $18,260 to oppose Travis Hankins for Congress in Indiana's 6th District.
Catholicvote.org Candidate Fund, $8,532 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

NONE.

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