Politico opened a debate on the influence of Super PACs Thursday, noting that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson plans to donate as much as $10 million to the pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future. Politico published opinions of various people involved in the elections process addressing the significance of Super PAC funding -- whether it's a fair exercise of First Amendment rights or a corruption of the political process.
Here's more on the Super PACs and their participation in the 2012 election cycle:
Open Secrets Report
According to Open Secrets, 596 Super PACs raised $220,809,552 and spent $120,782,257 in the 2012 cycle. Open Secrets identified Restore Our Future as the top fundraiser and spender among the Super PACs. It's raised more than $56 million in the 2012 election cycle and spent more than $46 million.
The top pro-Obama Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, raised more than $10 million and spent $9 million so far. It's number 3 on the spending list. The second highest spending Super PAC supported Newt Gingrich.
There are numerous Super PACs that have neither raised nor spent money yet this election cycle and many small Super PACs raising hundreds or thousands of dollars rather than millions.
Politico asked whether media reports fairly on Super PACs. Northeastern University journalism professor Alan Schroeder replied in part, "…the press has a crucial role to play in exposing big-money donors, however difficult and unglamorous that task may be. Billionaire business people may now be able to buy elections -- but the public need not buy what these businesses are selling."
Sabrina L. Schaeffer, Independent Women's Forum executive director, said in part, "…the question assumes that the practice of giving money -- especially a lot of money -- to political campaigns is somehow "corrupt." Contributing money to candidates, parties, activist groups, PACs -- or, super PACs -- is a good thing. It's an opportunity for Americans to be directly involved in the political process, and it's the basis for free political speech."
Is Big Spending Buying Political Office?
Pro-Newt Gingrich Super PAC Winning Our Future boasts the second highest fundraising and spending totals among the Super PACs. It raised almost $24 million and spent $17 million. WOF's South Carolina primary spending gave Gingrich a last minute poll surge, according to the Huffington Post. And Gingrich grabbed the win.
When the Florida primary came about, it was the pro-Romney Super PAC that topped the spending list and the state fell into the Romney column.
Slate published a map showing Super PAC spending against candidates by state through March 5. Restore Our Future topped the lists for spending on negative campaign ads. The target of the ads varied by state.
- Politics & Government
- Newt Gingrich