POLITICS
06/08/2012 04:55 pm ET Updated Jun 08, 2012

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- Shadow Super PAC Consultant Kabuki

How does a consulting firm keep their super PAC clients away from their candidate clients to avoid coordination? HuffPost's Mike McAuliff dove head first into one such example, "In the burgeoning, opaque world of political consulting, even clients sometimes have no clue about the identities of the firms handling millions of dollars meant to influence the American public. David Wilmot, who runs the bipartisan Ocean Champions Voter Fund, paid an outfit called Waterfront Strategies $49,867 to run an ad attacking Maryland congressional candidate Andy Harris in 2010. "The funny thing is, I don't know anything about them at all," Wilmot told The Huffington Post. ...But Waterfront has recently surged up the ranks of political advertising firms. So far this election cycle, $466 million has been lavished on campaign consultants, according to a HuffPost analysis of federal election data. Waterfront has served as a conduit for some $2.4 million in business, from which it earns a percentage. The bulk of the spending comes from two new Democratic super PACs. Waterfront's apparent obscurity offers a vivid illustration of the problems that good government advocates warned would happen after the Supreme Court ruled that corporations can spend all they want on politics. The surging flood of cash is making it harder to figure out who is behind attempts to sway voters and ensure that candidates are not circumventing federal campaign contribution limits by having donors funnel money through shell entities."

The presidential advertising campaign is centered on nine swing states, according to the New York Times. And that spending has already surpassed $100 million.

The IRS revoked the non-profit status of a Democratic group for being too overtly political. This is raising fears about future action among the big non-profits -- Crossroads GPS and the American Action Network -- that spend a lot of time politicking.

Can unions take advantage of Citizens United too? Slate's Sasha Issenberg has this must-read report.

Billionaire corporate titans have feelings too. An anti-transparency panel at the Cato Institute today derided disclosure of campaign donors stating that these wealthiest of the wealthy could face threats, scolding, or -- horror! -- people who disagree with them.

Super PACs are playing in state-level races. In North Carolina, one business super PAC has already backed 10 state lawmakers.

Foster Friess, the millionaire who backed Rick Santorum's super PAC, is "all in" for Mitt Romney's super PAC.

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: Republican National Committee
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "'Doing Fine'"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Mitt Romney for President
Spot: "Strong Leadership"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Mitt Romney for President
Spot: "American Strength -- North Carolina"
Market: North Carolina.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Republican National Committee
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Headwinds"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Crossroads GPS
Candidate Opposed: Jon Tester
Spot: "How"
Market: Montana.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Crossroads GPS
Candidate Opposed: Joe Donnelly
Spot: "Everyday"
Market: Indiana.
Buy: Undisclosed.

TRACKING INDEPENDENT SPENDING:

These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate 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.

Presidential Race:
Mitt Romney (R), $7,327,516 to support, $15,569,593 to oppose. (Oppose: +$3,186,876)
Barack Obama (D), $491,730 to support, $1,571,030 to oppose. (Oppose: +$86,151)

Most Outside Spending for Congressional Candidates:
TX-Senate: Ted Cruz (R), $838,270 to support, $2,301,676 to oppose.
TX-Senate: David Dewhurst (R), $501,126 to support, $2,481,715 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Richard Mourdock (R), $1,442,961 to support, $634,899 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Dick Lugar (R), $208,628 to support, $1,671,841 to oppose.
AZ-08: Jesse Kelly (R), $249,401 to support, $1,152,390 to oppose. NEW

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

American Crossroads, $129,151 to support Heather Wilson for Senate in New Mexico.
Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, $36,151 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
American Action Network, $3,011 to support Jesse Kelly for Congress in Arizona's 8th District.
Priorities USA Action, $3,186,876 to oppose Mitt Romney for President.
SEIU COPE, $283,049 to oppose Josh Mandel for Senate in Ohio.
Life And Liberty PAC, $50,000 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
Voices of the American Federation of Government Employees, $33,333 to support Tim Kaine for Senate in Virginia.
Voices of the American Federation of Government Employees, $33,333 to support Claire McCaskill for Senate in Missouri.
Voices of the American Federation of Government Employees, $66,668 to support Martin Heinrich for Senate in New Mexico.
Women Vote!, $5,500 to support Grace Meng for Congress in New York's 6th District.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Patriotic Americans for A More Patriotic And American America, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Treasurer: Adam Innes. (Super PAC)
Progressive PAC, Youngstown, Ohio, Treasurer: Richard Ouzounian. (Super PAC)
Energize PAC, Brentwood, Tenn., Treasurer: Noelle Frederico. (Super PAC)

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

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