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> Excerpts from the Jan. 16, 2012 new story by Dan Eggen in The Washington Post entitled:

Super PACs Dominate Republican Primary Spending

South Carolina voters are being buried this week under an avalanche of combative and often nasty political commercials from super PACs, funded by a tiny group of super-rich donors with very particular interests in the state’s Republican presidential primary.

Hedge-fund king John Paulson, who donated $1 million to a group backing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, would very much like to see President Obama’s financial reforms repealed. The Marriott brothers, who also gave $1 million to a pro-Romney super PAC, have lobbied Washington for favorable tax and immigration policies through their hotel companies.

And casino magnate Sheldon Adelson recently dashed off a $5 million check to a group backing former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), marking what may be the largest single political contribution in U.S. history. Adelson is well known for supporting hard-line policies favoring Israel while also advocating measures that would benefit the gambling industry.

“There are probably fewer than 100 people who are fueling 90% of this outside money right now,” said David Donnelly, national campaigns director at the Public Campaign Action Fund, an advocacy group favoring limits on political spending. “When you think about the amazing impact that this small number of people have on deciding the election, on the information that people will have on who to vote for, it’s mind-boggling.”

The departure of former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. from the field on Monday also underscores how few rules govern super PACs, which are free to shift their support and money to another candidate or cause once their main beneficiary bows out. A group called Our Destiny PAC spent $2.5 million backing Huntsman, bankrolled in part by his billionaire industrialist father; its future plans are unclear.

In total, these new and unrestrained political action committees spent more than $15 million supporting GOP candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire and are now outspending the official campaigns in South Carolina by 2 to 1, according to advertising and expenditure data....

The onslaught of outside money has already shaped the contours of the race, shoring up Romney in Iowa and giving candidates such as Gingrich (Ga.), former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry a last chance to break through in South Carolina.

Sporting anodyne names such as Endorse Liberty and Make Us Great Again, super PACs are taking advantage of recent court rulings allowing corporations, unions and wealthy individuals to spend as much as they want on elections. The groups have quickly evolved into de facto shadow operations of the traditional campaigns, despite rules forbidding direct cooperation between the two.

Super PACs are generally staffed by former aides of the candidates they support, and they are fueled by benefactors wealthy enough to write six- and seven-figure checks for what amounts to a political gamble. The biggest super-PAC donors also are often fundraisers for the candidates: A Wall Street event for Romney on Tuesday includes at least six hosts who gave to the main pro-Romney super PAC as well....

Many of the donors will remain anonymous until Jan. 31, when reports to the Federal Election Commission are due. But previous disclosure records, combined with leaks and news reports, sketch out a varied list of tycoons, hedge-fund managers and industrialists behind many of the donations, with a pronounced tilt toward Wall Street and the powerful financial services industry.

Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC, spent $7.8 million on the primaries through last week thanks to contributors dominated by Wall Street and the real estate sector. Several donors — including Edward Conard, who gave $1 million, and Paul Edgerley, who gave $1 million together with his wife — have ties to Romney’s former equity fund, Bain Capital.

J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., chairman of Marriott International, and Richard Marriott, head of Host Hotels & Resorts, each gave $500,000 to Restore Our Future. A Marriott International spokesman said all such donations are personal and have no connection to the company.

Paulson, who made much of his fortune by betting on the housing market’s collapse, has decried the Dodd-Frank financial reform law as “a failure” and agrees with Romney that it should be repealed. He said in a statement: “We contribute to candidates and organizations that support U.S. economic growth and leadership.”....

Super PACs were made possible by a 2010 ruling by the Supreme Court allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited money on elections, yet only a handful of publicly held corporations have taken advantage of the opening so far. One of those is BE Aerospace, founded by Romney donor Amin Khoury, which gave $50,000 to Restore Our Future and has received at least $80 million in U.S. government contracts, federal data show.

The single largest known contributor in the 2012 campaign so far is Adelson, the billionaire chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., who gave $5 million this month to Winning Our Future, a pro-Gingrich super PAC.

The group is, in many respects, a case study of the promise and pitfalls of super PACs: Founded and funded by Gingrich’s closest confidantes, Winning Our Future has grabbed headlines for its broad assault on Romney’s time at Bain, while also prompting Gingrich to distance himself from inaccuracies in the group’s ads.

“We shifted the whole debate before we even began spending any money,” boasted Rick Tyler, a longtime Gingrich aide who now serves as senior adviser to the super PAC. “Our ads are scheduled to be interrupted only by more of our ads.”

Spokesman Ron Reese said Adelson gave money to the group because of “a long-documented personal relationship” with Gingrich. He also said Adelson does not expect any special treatment if Gingrich reaches the White House.

“He’s hopeful that Speaker Gingrich would be elected president and that maybe he would be invited to the White House Hanukkah party,” Reese said. “That’s it. There are no expectations.”....

Three candidates who left the GOP race in recent weeks each had at least one super PAC championing their cause. A group favoring Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) switched its support to Romney, while one backing Herman Cain has gone dormant. A spokesman for Our Destiny PAC, the pro-Huntsman group, did not respond to requests for comment on the group’s plans....

A group called The Red, White and Blue Fund, was recently formed to bolster Santorum, who finished just eight votes behind Romney in the Iowa caucuses but lagged in New Hampshire. The group, which has bought at least $800,000 worth of ads in South Carolina, is funded in part by Foster Friess, a Wyoming-based mutual fund manager and longtime supporter of conservative and evangelical causes.

When asked what he expects in return for his financial support, which could reach $1 million, Friess joked in an interview that “I have my heart set on an ambassadorship to Zimbabwe.”

“In all my years of giving, I’ve never asked a politician for any particular favors or anything,” Friess continued. “I’ve just asked for them to support the principles of the Founding Fathers and the values that made this nation great.”

Friess added: “I do want something desperately: I want my country back.”

_________________________________________________________


During the Monday night, Jan. 16 Fox News-hosted Republican Presidential Candidate Debate in South Carolina, Willard Mitt Romney made a very telling remark that wasn't what it appeared to be.

When asked about the undue influence of Super Pacs on the electoral process, Willard said that he wished there weren't any Super Pacs and that instead donors could donate directly to the candidates' campaigns.

Well, donors can already do that -- They just can't donate unlimited-dollar amounts of donation to candidates' campaigns like they can to Super Pacs.

So, essentially what Willard Mitt Romney was indirectly saying was that he supports allowing unrestricted-dollar amounts of campaign donations to be given directly to the candidates' campaigns.

And because they're unemcumbered by strict donor accountability & reporting standards, Super Pacs often buy up all the TV & radio advertising time in markets ahead of the candidates themselves, thus giving opposing candidates less ideal times (if any) to run their campaign ads.

Talk about a robber baron mentality!



> Excerpts from the Jan. 13, 2012 USA Today Editorial entitled:

Candidates Outsource Dirty Work To 'Super PACs'

How much money can you donate to a presidential candidate?

Look it up, and the answer is $5,000 — $2,500 for the primary and $2,500 for the general election. Those are, in fact, the legal limits on individual contributions. But, really, that's so two years ago.

Thanks largely to federal court decisions in 2010 that opened the way for virtually unlimited spending by corporations, labor unions and individuals, those limits are essentially gone — and the effects aren't pretty....

And while it's possible that Super PAC officials avoid consulting with their former colleagues at the campaigns, why would they need to? When Gingrich shot past Romney in the Iowa polls, the mission of Restore Our Future was obvious: Do Romney's dirty work for him by running ads to savage Gingrich and drive down his poll numbers. So it did.

And when an angry Gingrich said he planned to lash back at Romney, his former press secretary Rick Tyler, an adviser to the pro-Gingrich Super PAC Winning Our Future, said he took his "cue" from his former boss' comments. Now Winning Our Future is sponsoring a harsh anti-Romney video in South Carolina, site of the next Republican primary.

The most pernicious aspect of Super PACs isn't that they can play hardball while the candidate pretends to stay positive. That sort of hypocrisy is standard campaign practice. It's that any individual, any corporation and any labor union can — in effect — give a candidate unlimited amounts of money. When candidates have to raise campaign funds from the very people they regulate, which has been the case of years, politics becomes a barely controlled form of legalized bribery. When the money is unlimited, it's a scandal waiting to happen.

Think about it: Would a president refuse to take a phone call from someone who gave "his" Super PAC $5 million? Does anyone seriously believe money doesn't at least buy access, and at worst buy results? Or signal voters that the voices that really count are the ones who write the biggest checks?

We've long advocated public financing of campaigns, which would free candidates from having to beg for dollars or worry about repaying donors once in office. That's still a worthy cause, though a distant one because those who benefit from the current system successfully demonize it as taxpayer funding of politicians.

In the meantime, there is no obvious, constitutional way to disarm the Super PACs. Perhaps the most that can be done is to require them to disclose their donors in real time. That way, even if the candidates themselves aren't directly approving the message, voters will know who is.

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zuludawn wrote:

Uhhhh, no, these aren't the usual suspects, because the Super Pac donors have never before been allowed to given unlimited-dollar amounts of donations before. And never have so few been allowed to have such undue influence over our electoral process in a Presidential election before.
 
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bjlillo wrote:
It's a good thing we got McCain/Feingold passed to keep the money out of politics. We got a law that violates the First Amendment and doesn't even work. Best of both worlds!


It's not going to get real exciting until we have the general election and it's the Democratic Super-PACs Vs the Republican Super-PACs, and every advert on TV, on the radios, and in the papers is mud slinging.

It's going to be like an unsexy mud wrestling match!
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The Supreme Court royally screwed the pooch with Citizens United...
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bjlillo wrote:
Dispaminite wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
It's a good thing we got McCain/Feingold passed to keep the money out of politics. We got a law that violates the First Amendment and doesn't even work. Best of both worlds!


It's not going to get real exciting until we have the general election and it's the Democratic Super-PACs Vs the Republican Super-PACs, and every advert on TV, on the radios, and in the papers is mud slinging.

It's going to be like an unsexy mud wrestling match!


Oh joy! I can hardly wait!


It's going to be hot, all those politicians wallowing in all that filth.
 
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bjlillo wrote:
It's a good thing we got McCain/Feingold passed to keep the money out of politics. We got a law that violates the First Amendment and doesn't even work. Best of both worlds!


It's a bit disingenuous to complain about McCain/Feingold "not working" when ninety percent of what it did was purposefully torn apart by the rulings in Wisconsin v. Right to Life and Citizens United.
 
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:

zuludawn wrote:

Uhhhh, no, these aren't the usual suspects, because the Super Pac donors have never before been allowed to given unlimited-dollar amounts of donations before. And never have so few been allowed to have such undue influence over our electoral process in a Presidential election before.


Never before have so many been undermined by so few.
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jmilum wrote:
The Supreme Court royally screwed the pooch with Citizens United...


It did what it is (and all courts are) supposed to do, decide the issue before it in accordance with the law.

What I don't get is how the candidate corresponding to the super PAC gets to escape any responsibility for the negative attacks on other candidates. At some relatively early point in the campaign it should be clear to everyone over the age of 10 who they are backing.
 
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They can spend a trillion dollars on campaigns, it's not going to change my vote.
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myopia wrote:
jmilum wrote:
The Supreme Court royally screwed the pooch with Citizens United...


It did what it is (and all courts are) supposed to do, decide the issue before it in accordance with the law.

What I don't get is how the candidate corresponding to the super PAC gets to escape any responsibility for the negative attacks on other candidates. At some relatively early point in the campaign it should be clear to everyone over the age of 10 who they are backing.


Candidates cannot have any association with the SuperPACs.
 
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MWChapel wrote:
They can spend a trillion dollars on campaigns, it's not going to change my vote.


I beg to differ, slightly.

Yeah, when you're choosing your Republican or your Democrat, you're going to choose who you're going to choose.

However, that republican and that democrat you're choosing from is usually the result of who had the money, and who didn't.
 
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bippi wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
They can spend a trillion dollars on campaigns, it's not going to change my vote.


I beg to differ, slightly.

Yeah, when you're choosing your Republican or your Democrat, you're going to choose who you're going to choose.

However, that republican and that democrat you're choosing from is usually the result of who had the money, and who didn't.


People who vote for Republicans or Democrats are not making wise choices.
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Dispaminite wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
Dispaminite wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
It's a good thing we got McCain/Feingold passed to keep the money out of politics. We got a law that violates the First Amendment and doesn't even work. Best of both worlds!


It's not going to get real exciting until we have the general election and it's the Democratic Super-PACs Vs the Republican Super-PACs, and every advert on TV, on the radios, and in the papers is mud slinging.

It's going to be like an unsexy mud wrestling match!


Oh joy! I can hardly wait!


It's going to be hot, all those politicians wallowing in all that filth.


How will we know the difference from business as usual?
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quozl wrote:
Only morons vote for Republicans or Democrats.


It's good to know that we can count on you to offer up blanket insults.

I have voted for a representative of one of the major parties in every Presidential election since I came of voting age and I've voted for representatives of one of the major parties in well over 90% of the state and local elections that I've voted in.
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bjlillo wrote:
mightygodking wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
It's a good thing we got McCain/Feingold passed to keep the money out of politics. We got a law that violates the First Amendment and doesn't even work. Best of both worlds!


It's a bit disingenuous to complain about McCain/Feingold "not working" when ninety percent of what it did was purposefully torn apart by the rulings in Wisconsin v. Right to Life and Citizens United.


Perhaps next time they should pass a law that isn't unconstitutional then.


At least admit that you're double-counting!
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
quozl wrote:
Only morons vote for Republicans or Democrats.


It's good to know that we can count on you to offer up blanket insults.

I have voted for a representative of one of the major parties in every Presidential election since I came of voting age and I've voted for representatives of one of the major parties in well over 90% of the state and local elections that I've voted in.


I'm really sorry to hear that. I hope you'll do better next time!
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Who are these people that watch ads?

And, if one is inflicted upon one accidentally, who the hell believes anything they see in an ad (political or otherwise)?

And, if you do suspect that an ad has a point about a candidate, wouldn't you research the allegations before allowing it to change the way you vote?

Oh wait, we allow anyone to vote.

Most Americans (and other people that have access to TV's) spend an inordinate amount of time watching the glowing hypnobox.

Anyone that spends time watching TV (especially if not smart enough to avoid watching commercials) probably isn't smart enough to have a vote anyway.

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quozl wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
quozl wrote:
Only morons vote for Republicans or Democrats.


It's good to know that we can count on you to offer up blanket insults.

I have voted for a representative of one of the major parties in every Presidential election since I came of voting age and I've voted for representatives of one of the major parties in well over 90% of the state and local elections that I've voted in.


I'm really sorry to hear that. I hope you'll do better next time!


I hear they have a vaccine for that now.
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Dispaminite wrote:
quozl wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
quozl wrote:
Only morons vote for Republicans or Democrats.


It's good to know that we can count on you to offer up blanket insults.

I have voted for a representative of one of the major parties in every Presidential election since I came of voting age and I've voted for representatives of one of the major parties in well over 90% of the state and local elections that I've voted in.


I'm really sorry to hear that. I hope you'll do better next time!


I hear they have a vaccine for that now.


It needs to be mandatory!
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quozl wrote:
Dispaminite wrote:
quozl wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
quozl wrote:
Only morons vote for Republicans or Democrats.


It's good to know that we can count on you to offer up blanket insults.

I have voted for a representative of one of the major parties in every Presidential election since I came of voting age and I've voted for representatives of one of the major parties in well over 90% of the state and local elections that I've voted in.


I'm really sorry to hear that. I hope you'll do better next time!


I hear they have a vaccine for that now.


It needs to be mandatory!


I heard that its been linked to conservatism.
 
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qzhdad wrote:
Who are these people that watch ads?

And, if one is inflicted upon one accidentally, who the hell believes anything they see in an ad (political or otherwise)?

And, if you do suspect that an ad has a point about a candidate, wouldn't you research the allegations before allowing it to change the way you vote?

Oh wait, we allow anyone to vote.

Most Americans (and other people that have access to TV's) spend an inordinate amount of time watching the glowing hypnobox.

Anyone that spends time watching TV (especially if not smart enough to avoid watching commercials) probably isn't smart enough to have a vote anyway.



It's bad, because think about it, every time you get a forward about a "gas boycott day" or a "so-and-so fornicates with chickens"... that's someone believing something and passing it along---always without question.

I don't ask much, but seeing some of the South Carolina attack ads, I just ask that people stop for a second and think, 'if it sounds too insane to be believed, can you hit snopes or something?'

Which, that's a huge ask, really. That's not even getting to the, 'pick up a newspaper or magazine and stop watching fox news' that I would like to see.
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slatersteven wrote:
quozl wrote:
Dispaminite wrote:
quozl wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
quozl wrote:
Only morons vote for Republicans or Democrats.


It's good to know that we can count on you to offer up blanket insults.

I have voted for a representative of one of the major parties in every Presidential election since I came of voting age and I've voted for representatives of one of the major parties in well over 90% of the state and local elections that I've voted in.


I'm really sorry to hear that. I hope you'll do better next time!


I hear they have a vaccine for that now.


It needs to be mandatory!


I heard that its been linked to conservatism.


Dude, you say you talk to werewolves. Who believes anything you say?
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quozl wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
quozl wrote:
Dispaminite wrote:
quozl wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
quozl wrote:
Only morons vote for Republicans or Democrats.


It's good to know that we can count on you to offer up blanket insults.

I have voted for a representative of one of the major parties in every Presidential election since I came of voting age and I've voted for representatives of one of the major parties in well over 90% of the state and local elections that I've voted in.


I'm really sorry to hear that. I hope you'll do better next time!


I hear they have a vaccine for that now.


It needs to be mandatory!


I heard that its been linked to conservatism.


Dude, you say you talk to werewolves. Who believes anything you say?


No I did not, I said I have been chassed by one that was not there.
 
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