06/26/2012 06:53 pm ET

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- They Were For It Before They Were Against It

After years of calling for fully-disclosed unlimited campaign contributions the Republican Party has now turned against disclosure after getting, for the most part, unlimited contributions. The LA Times reports, "During their long campaign to loosen rules on campaign money, conservatives argued that there was a simpler way to prevent corruption: transparency. Get rid of limits on contributions and spending, they said, but make sure voters know where the money is coming from. Today, with those fundraising restrictions largely removed, many conservatives have changed their tune. They now say disclosure could be an enemy of free speech. ...A handful of conservative foundations, themselves financed with millions in anonymous funding, have been fighting legal battles from Maine to Hawaii to dismantle disclosure rules and other limits on campaign spending. One group, the Center for Individual Freedom based in Alexandria, Va., has spent millions on attack ads against Democratic congressmen and state judicial candidates. It also has sued to block laws and court rulings that would have required disclosure of the source of the money for the ads....The anti-disclosure campaign was joined by libertarian legal advocacy centers, such as the Institute for Justice, founded in 1991 with seed money from trusts controlled by billionaire brothers Charles and David H. Koch. Starting in 2005, the institute began sponsoring studies that argued disclosure laws were ensnaring ordinary citizens in red tape and inviting reprisals."

Those same forces are now challenging overall contribution limits that one donor can give to candidates, political parties and PACs. Current law limits a single donor from giving more than $117,000 in the 2011-12 election. Of that total limit, donors cannot give more than $46,200 to candidate committees and no more than $70,800 to party committees and PACs. A new court filing (PDF) shows that conservatives are looking to challenge these limits.

Who is funding the National Federation of Independent Businesses' challenge to the health care law that will end on Thursday when the Court rules? The group received many very large donations since it began to challenge the law in court, but the source remains a mystery.

In a new e-mail message, the Obama campaign scares supporters into donating with the warning: "I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far."

Warren Buffett reiterates that he will not give to super PACs. He's also raising money for Democratic Senate candidate Bob Kerrey.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown tells TPM what he thinks about the lack of Democratic super PAC donors, "'Part of it is if George Soros wanted to give $50 million to our side, and we won, he wouldn’t get any material gain. When [Harold] Simmons from Texas, and the Koch brothers, and Adelson and these guys, they give their 10 or 20 or 50 million each, they get great benefit if their side wins. They get tax cuts, they get weaker environmental laws, they get anti-labor rules,' Brown said. 'There is so much more incentive for them to do it.' But it’s not just about Republican means and motives. As Brown put it, 'A number of wealthy Democrats just think it’s unseemly to put this kind of money into these political campaigns. They really don’t like — morally, they have some moral objections. I mean, we hear that frequently. Their side doesn’t seem to have any of those. Because for them it’s an investment, like investing in a new company — only this is one with really big payoffs.'"

What kind of effect does unlimited money have on the local level?

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reserved $1.2 million in ad time for October in North Dakota to help Democratic candidate Heidi Heitkamp.

David Frum explains why it's impossible to determine how much elections cost prior to 1976.

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter's response videos to attack ads get spoofed.


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: "Revealed - VA"
Market: Virginia.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Barack Obama for President
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Revealed - IA"
Market: Iowa.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Barack Obama for President
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Revealed - OH"
Market: Ohio.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: League of Conservation Voters
Candidate Opposed: Heather Wilson
Spot: "Emma"
Market: New Mexico.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: VoteVets.org
Candidate Opposed: Denny Rehberg
Spot: "Lucky"
Market: Montana.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: John Brunner for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Sarah Steelman, Todd Akin
Spot: "Sound Familiar?"
Market: Missouri.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Montana Republican Party
Candidate Opposed: Jon Tester
Spot: "Folksy"
Market: Montana.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Jon Tester for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Denny Rehberg
Spot: "Rehberg on Citizens United"
Market: Montana.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Rick Berg for Senate
Spot: "Curt Zimbelman, Mayor of Minot, Endorses Rick Berg"
Market: North Dakota.
Buy: Undisclosed.


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, $16,957,364 to oppose. (Oppose: +$8,380)
Barack Obama (D), $747,351 to support, $9,176,303 to oppose. (Support: +$17,306; Oppose: +$3,668)

Most Outside Spending for Congressional Candidates:
TX-Senate: Ted Cruz (R), $863,794 to support, $2,325,821 to oppose.
TX-Senate: David Dewhurst (R), $536,126 to support, $2,481,715 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Richard Mourdock (R), $1,442,961 to support, $1,280,052 to oppose.
OH-SEN: Josh Mandel (R), $157,924 to support, $1,739,326 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Dick Lugar (R), $208,628 to support, $1,671,841 to oppose.


1911 United, $9,873 to support Barack Obama for President.
Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, $3,668 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
Priorities USA Action, $8,000 to oppose Mitt Romney for President.
Progressive Change Campaign Committee, $2,081 to support Hakeem Jeffries for Congress in New York's 8th District.
NARAL Pro-Choice Foundation, $7,433 to support Barack Obama for President.
NARAL Pro-Choice Foundation, $380 to oppose Mitt Romney for President.
National Organization for Marriage, $7,000 to support Wendy Long for Senate in New York.
VoteVets.org Action Fund, $97,900 to support Tulsi Gabbard for Congress in Hawaii's 2nd District.


Unlimited Funding for America, Washington, D.C., Treasurer: Matthew Carr. (Super PAC)
Freshman Hold'Em PAC, Washington, D.C., Treasurer: Dan Backer. (Super PAC/Carey PAC)

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