Washington Post: 72 super PACs spent $83.7 million on election, financial disclosure reports show

Written by admin on December 4th, 2010

The Washington Post reports on the massive spending by SuperPACs in the midterm elections.

Washington Post

The newly created independent political groups known as super PACs, which raised and spent millions of dollars on last month’s elections, drew much of their funding from private-equity partners and others in the financial industry, according to new financial disclosure reports.

The 72 super PACs, all formed this year, together spent $83.7 million on the election. The figures provide the best indication yet of the impact of recent Supreme Court decisions that opened the door for wealthy individuals and corporations to give unlimited contributions.

The financial disclosure reports also underscore the extent to which the flow of corporate money will be tied to political goals. Private-equity partners and hedge fund managers, for example, have a substantial stake in several issues before Congress, primarily the taxes they pay on their earnings.

Super PACs provide a means for the super wealthy to have even more influence and an even greater voice in the political process,” said Meredith McGehee, a lobbyist for the Campaign Legal Center, which advocates for tighter regulation of money in politics.

The Supreme Court’s ruling this year in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission found that corporations, unions and nonprofit groups could spend unlimited money on advertising directly attacking or supporting candidates. In a separate decision, a federal court in the District removed limits on contributions to those groups.

To take advantage of the loosened regulations, political activists created super PACs, which are allowed to accept any kind of contribution as long as they disclose their donors and do not coordinate with candidates.

Super PACs represent only one portion of the spending spurred by the court’s decision. Nonprofit groups that are not required to disclose their donors also spent heavily on the election.


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