04/11/2012 05:41 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- Why Is This Election Different From All Other Elections?

Why is this election different from all other recent elections? Two big changes in the world of campaign finance: one brought on by the Supreme Court and the other from President Barack Obama's successful 2008 campaign. Both the Citizens United ruling freeing unlimited money back into the system after the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law and the refusal of both major party candidates to accept public matching funds will alter the amount of money and activity of the campaigns in the 2012 election. The changes will create new strategies for responding to unprecedented spending by independent groups and alter spending decisions as neither candidate will have to worry about hitting a spending limit under public financing. HuffPost reports, "The 2012 contest will be the first since 1972 in which neither major-party candidate will accept presidential matching funds in the general election. Both Obama and Romney will be free to raise as much money as they can and spend as much money as possible. The campaign will also be the first since the McCain-Feingold ban on soft money was implemented in which unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and the wealthiest Americans will play a major, if not pivotal, role."

Newt Gingrich's undead campaign has a string of bills that it has not paid to campaign vendors. According to HuffPost, "In interviews with HuffPost, many vendors listed in Gingrich's Federal Election Commission debt disclosures said they're still waiting to be paid, weeks or months after finishing work. Several said they've been given the runaround by campaign officials as they've tried to collect. Gingrich has vowed to slog on with his debt-ridden campaign, despite having won a mere 136 delegates, leaving some vendors to wonder when they can expect their checks."

What is a super PAC to do without a candidate? Whatever it wants. That's the whole point of being "independent."

According to the New York Times, the Romney campaign canceled $2.9 million worth of advertising buys in Pennsylvania after Santorum dropped out.

It looks increasingly likely President Obama will not issue an executive order requiring the disclosure of political contributions made by companies or individuals seeking new government contracts.

Rick Perlstein asks in Rolling Stone about Sheldon Adelson, "What does it suggest when a man under three federal investigations can plan on spending up to $100 million dollars to elect the man with authority over the agencies conducting those investigations?"

The Washington Examiner says that there is no disclosure for political activity by unions and complain that this means they can't get an honest understanding of union spending on elections. Unions, however, are required to report pretty much every expense they make to the Department of Labor, far more disclosure than required of non-profits or corporations. According to their 2010 union report the United Auto Workers, mentioned in the Examiner editorial, spent $9.5 million on political activities in 2010. So...

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is reserving $25 million for ads in six crucial Senate states. Those states include: Wisconsin, Missouri, Montana, Virginia, New Mexico, and Nevada.

Another big bank campaign donor is switching from Obama to Romney.

If you still care, Sarah Palin's PAC spent more than $400,000 without donating a dime to a single other candidate. One expense of $19,000 went to working up a video to rebut HBO's Game Change movie.

MAPLight.org creates an interactive infographic showing where the candidate super PAC contributions come from.


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
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Mitt Romney: Memories to Last a Lifetime"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Connie Mack for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Sen. Bill Nelson
Spot: "Monkeying Around"
Market: Florida.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Tom Barrett for Governor
Candidate Opposed: Gov. Scott Walker
Spot: "Civil"
Market: Wisconsin.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Don Stenberg for Senate
Spot: "Workhorse"
Market: Nebraska.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Bob Menendez for Senate
Spot: "A Middle Class Life"
Market: New Jersey.
Buy: Undisclosed.


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), $3,054,324 to support, $6,927,290 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), $294,895 to support, $979,322 to oppose. (+$6,442)
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.


Club for Growth, $36,668 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
Club for Growth, $28,520 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
Independent Source, $6,442 to support Barack Obama for President in New Mexico.


San Diegans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, San Diego, Calif., Treasurer: Tyler Michael Bobik.
The Dump Him Project, Kansas City, Mo., Treasurer: James C. Thomas III. (Super PAC)
Occupy Obamacare, Largo, Md., Treasurer: Glen W. Troy Morton. (Super PAC)
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith 2012 Committee, San Diego, Calif., Treasurer: Michael Wagner. (Super PAC)
Friends United, Alexandria, Va., Treasurer: Jennifer Stewart. (Super PAC)
United for America's Vote, Smyrna, Ga., Treasurer: Washica Little. (Super PAC)
Ipso Facto, Cabin John, Md., Treasurer: Constantine Seder. (Super PAC)
New Directions for America, New York, N.Y., Treasurer: Edward C. Sweeney. (Super PAC)

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