05/16/2012 06:48 pm ET


Democratic super PACs are planning a fundraising bonanza -- or as they call it, a "Super-O-Rama" -- at the Democratic National Convention. Just like in the old days of soft money there will be parties galore for corporations and the wealthy to be feted as they cut million dollar checks. Politico reports, "Democrats hope the events will lead to a massive cash infusion for three super PACs that have struggled to pull in the big checks necessary to compete with GOP outside advertising juggernauts like the Karl Rove-conceived Crossroads outfits and the Koch brothers-linked Americans for Prosperity. But the plan isn’t perfect. The Democratic National Convention is just two months before the general election — too late to spend any money raised there on ads, some Democrats worry. Plus, conventions do not typically lend themselves to the type of one-on-one meetings where mega donors usually sign six- and seven-figure checks. The Super-O-Rama plan is just one example of a larger overhaul afoot among Democratic super PACs, which have gotten a cool reception from some of the party’s biggest traditional donors."

That cool reception comes for a variety of reasons. HuffPost reports, "The most common complaint from Obama backers who won't give to the super PAC is one that the president previously voiced: Unlimited money is bad for democracy. 'If we're going to be the party of the people, where do we draw that line?"'asked Don Peebles, a real estate developer worth upwards of $350 million and a bundler for the Obama campaign. 'At the end of the day, Grant [and] Hamilton don't vote.' ...Warren Buffett, the third-richest man on Earth, criticized super PACs at a May shareholders meeting: 'I don't want to see democracy go in that direction. ... You have to take a stand someplace.' ...Billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis have both avoided giving money to groups that focus on television advertising. ...Other Democratic donors have made policy an issue in their giving. ...And then there are those big-money givers who backed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary."

Changes are afoot, however, as Priorities USA Action, the lead pro-Obama super PAC, announced the hiring of Mary Beth Cahill, campaign manager for Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. HuffPost's Sam Stein writes, "Cahill has been the director of the Washington, D.C. office of the United Auto Workers, a prominent labor union, and the executive director of EMILY's List, which works to increase the number pro-choice women in elected office. Priorities USA Action is likely hoping that Cahill will be able to parlay those ties to the union and progressive community into financial support for future ads."

In Congress, Sen. John McCain has made an overture to the Democrats to work on campaign finance reform post-Citizens United. The Hill reports, "Sen. John McCain is talking with Democrats about a joint effort to require outside groups that have spent millions of dollars on this year’s elections to disclose their donors. ...McCain said he wants to ensure the legislation is balanced to cover labor union activity as well as spending by corporations and rich individuals."

Speaking of the kind of disclosure reform Congress would seek, the conservative social welfare non-profit American Action Network reported that it received one $7 million contribution from an anonymous donor in 2010. The group was revealed earlier this year to have received $4.5 million from the main pharmaceutical industry trade group.

The Obama campaign and the DNC announced raising a joint $43.6 million in April.

The Karl Rove-linked Crossroads GPS announced a $25 million ad buy across 10 states attacking Obama. The buy began with an $8 million purchase of air time that matches an ad buy from the Obama campaign.

Will any of these cases be the next Citizens United? Mother Jones asks.

How big of a role did super PACs play in last night's Nebraska Senate primary race? iWatch News says a big role. WaPo points to the sole billionaire who backed the winner, Deb Fischer, with his super PAC.

Rick Hasen tells campaign finance reformers not to get their hopes up for more disclosure even though the Van Hollen v. FEC case has so far succeeded in district court and beaten back two attempts at stays.

This super PAC is winning the Internet by trolling the FEC.


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: Crossroads GPS
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Obama's Promise"
Market: Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina, Michigan, and Nevada.
Buy: ~$25 million.

Committee: Elizabeth Warren for Senate
Spot: "People"
Market: Massachusetts.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Heather Wilson for Senate
Spot: "Cliff"
Market: New Mexico.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Linda McMahon for Senate
Spot: "Why I'm Running"
Market: Connecticut.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Hector Balderas for Senate
Spot: "Underdogs"
Market: New Mexico.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: VoteVets.org Action Fund
Candidate Supported: Tulsi Gabbard
Spot: "Tulsi"
Market: Hawaii's 2nd District.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Committee To Elect An Effective Valley Congressman
Candidate Supported: Howard Berman
Spot: "Breaking the Gridlock"
Market: California's 30th District.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Scott Walker for Governor
Spot: "Jobs"
Market: Wisconsin.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Tom Barrett for Governor
Candidate Opposed: Scott Walker
Spot: "Turn Off Walker"
Market: Wisconsin.
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), $13,017,772 to support, $18,885,161 to oppose.
Rick Santorum (R), $7,548,235 to support, $20,923,379 to oppose.
Mitt Romney (R), $7,327,516 to support, $8,743,763 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), $455,569 to support, $1,268,512 to oppose. (+$26,965)
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.


National Association of Realtors PAC, $396,300 to support Gary Miller for Congress in California's 31st District.
Susan B. Anthony List, $10,080 to support Aleica Webb-Edgington for Congress in Kentucky's 4th District.
FreedomWorks for America, $2,953 to support Ted Cruz for Senate in Texas.
Committee to Elect An Effective Valley Congressman, $96,219 to support Howard Berman for Congress in California's 30th District.
Restoring Our Community, $10,281 to support Pete Aguilar for Congress in California's 31st District.
Americans for Growth, Opportunity & Prosperity Super PAC, $31,171 to support Thomas Massie for Congress in Kentucky's 4th District.
Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, $26,965 to oppose Barack Obama for President in California.
National Association of Realtors PAC, $109,577 to support Gary Miller for Congress in California's 31st District.
TEST PAC, $3,927 to oppose Lamar Smith for Congress in Texas' 21st District.
Citizens for a Working America, $50,000 to support Thomas Massie for Congress in Kentucky's 4th District.
VoteVets.org Action Fund, $89,364 to support Tulsi Gabbard for Congress in Hawaii's 2nd District.


Texas America 21st Century PAC, San Antonio, Texas, Treasurer: Judith Zamore. (Super PAC)

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