POLITICS
04/05/2012 06:11 pm ET Updated Apr 05, 2012

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- From Super PAC To The Romney Campaign

Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie signed on today as a senior advisor to the Romney campaign, a signal that the primary campaign is essentially over and the Republican establishment is ready for the Romney v. Obama campaign to begin. HuffPost's Elise Foley explained what Gillespie will be up to, "In his volunteer position with Romney, Gillespie will offer counsel and help with strategy and messaging."

What's notable about Gillespie coming aboard the Romney campaign? He helped found the super PAC American Crossroads with Karl Rove and worked on K Street as a corporate lobbyist.

Mother Jones' Andy Kroll elaborated on Gillespie's recent work, "What the Romney campaign's press release doesn't mention is Gillespie's years as a well-traveled Washington lobbyist. At his firm, Quinn Gillespie and Associates, Gillespie's client list included such mega-corporations as Bank of America, AT&T, now-bankrupt MF Global, Verizon, and dozens more. ... Most recently, Gillespie made headlines for creating, along with Karl Rove, the powerful super-PAC American Crossroads and its shadowy nonprofit sister group, Crossroads GPS. ... Gillespie says he's taking a leave of absence from Crossroads and his other gigs to work for Romney. But critics of super-PACs and dark money say Gillespie's move to the Romney campaign raises more questions about the supposed independence of the Crossroads groups, which by law cannot coordinate with any candidate or campaign. They wonder: Can Gillespie completely sever his ties with the Crossroads groups?"

Two articles out today focus on Republican super PAC donor Harold Simmons' interests in rules around nuclear waste dumps. Here's one from Bloomberg and another from Salon.

The grassroots progressive organization Democracy for America is starting a new effort to fight the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. The group is working to get state attorneys general to join an amicus brief being prepared by Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock arguing against the application of the Citizens United decision in Montana. As DFA head Jim Dean told HuffPost, "Every place we can be to make it as difficult and as painful for big money to be in politics in the wake of Citizens United is something we need to be involved in."

The National Republican Congressional Committee spent $40,000 to run an ad against Georgia Democratic congressman John Barrow during The Masters. Barrow represents Augusta, which is where The Masters take place.

Another member of the Coors family is running for Congress in Colorado. Joseph Coors hopes that a silly radio ad will help his candidacy. In the ad Coors states, "One friend suggested that with a name like Joe Coors, I should just run for Congress as a beer. After all, people like beer but they don't much like Congress." In 2004, Pete Coors ran for the Senate in Colorado and lost to Democrat Ken Salazar.

Public pressure has pushed Coca-Cola and Pepsico to drop their support for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that brings conservatives and lobbyists together to draft legislation to be adopted at the state-level. The two soda companies decided to drop their support as ALEC has received bad publicity for pushing controversial laws requiring identification to be shown before voting and "Stand Your Ground" laws, like the one in Florida made infamous by slaying of the Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Ron Barber, running to replace the retired Rep. Gabby Giffords, raised $500,000 in the first seven weeks of his campaign. That's more than both potential Republican opponents raised combined. Barber is a former Giffords staffer who was wounded in the 2011 Tuscon shooting attack that killed six and forced Giffords to retire after she was shot point blank in the head.

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: Mitt Romney for President
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Obama Energy Plan: Slinging Mud"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

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

Committee: VoteVets.org and Patriot Majority USA
Candidate Supported: Claire McCaskill
Spot: "Patriots For Claire"
Market: Missouri.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Dick Lugar for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Richard Mourdock
Spot: "What's Right"
Market: Indiana.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Campaign for Primary Accountability
Candidate Opposed: Tim Holden
Spot: "Who Does Tim Holden Look Out For?"
Market: PA-17.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Tim Holden for Congress
Candidate Opposed: Matt Cartwright
Spot: "Cartwright Kids For Cash"
Market: PA-17.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Matt Cartwright for Congress
Candidate Opposed: Tim Holden
Spot: "The Truth"
Market: PA-17.
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), $13,014,518 to support, $18,885,161 to oppose.
Rick Santorum (R), $7,548,235 to support, $20,914,763 to oppose.
Mitt Romney (R), $3,029,324 to support, $6,655,264 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), $282,298 to support, $979,322 to oppose.
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

Arizona Republican Party, $29,616 to oppose Ronald Barber for Congress in Arizona's 1st District.
FreedomWorks for America, $8,685 to oppose Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Ute PAC, Salt Lake City, Utah, Treasurer: Dimitrios Mumulidisz. (Super PAC)
National Auto Auction Association PAC, Frederick, Md., Treasurer: David Angelicchio.

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

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