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Those Uncoordinated (Wink, Wink) Super PACs

Salon.com has a report on a new study from Public Citizen about those allegedly “independent” Super PACs that support a candidate. They’re forbidden by law from coordinating their actions with a candidate’s official campaign committee, but everyone knows that isn’t really true.

A new report from Public Citizens shows just how absurd it is to assume that outside groups are truly independent. Of all the major super PACs and 501(c) nonprofit groups that engaged in the 2012 election, about half backed a single candidate exclusively, effectively making themselves auxiliary organs of the candidate’s campaign, the report found. Generally, these groups were “founded, funded or managed by friends, family members, or recent campaign aides of the candidate they supported,” the report adds.

The most obvious examples are Priorities USA, the Obama super PAC founded by a former White House aide, and Restore Our Future, the Romney super PAC founded by the general counsel of Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign. These groups allowed wealthy donors who had already maxed out their donations to either candidate’s official committee to give unlimited additional funds to the auxiliary super PAC to support their candidates.

Meanwhile, another 30 percent of spending came from groups designed specifically the aid the parties. For instance, the Democratic-affiliated House Majority PAC acted as an auxiliary to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. All of this is aboveboard.

All legal, at least. Just like the way lobbyists bribe legislators in perfectly legal ways, but all the parties involved know exactly what’s going on. In fact, that has been the primary effect of the various campaign finance laws that have passed, to give moneyed interests a clear, legal means of bribery while pretending to do the opposite. And the Supreme Court has actively been gutting even those irrelevant safeguards.

Comments

  1. Didaktylos says

    Bite the bullet – replace one of the houses of Congress with a House of Lords. The way the current system is developing you have the “gravity well” concentrations of wealth getting free rein to exercise their influence privately on matters that they consider to affect their interests. With a House of Lords they still get to do that – at the cost of having to publicly exercise their judgement on the whole of government business.

  2. lorn says

    If I was to say that “we have the best government money can buy” , irony intended, would it be hackneyed, honest, or both?

  3. unbound says

    To steve84’s comment, a great segment on the daily show on this subject (January 2012) can be found here.

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