Super PACs and Other Independent Committees
Unlike an ordinary PAC which
makes contributions to
candidates and party committees, super PACs are "independent
expenditure only committees." According to the Center for
Responsive Politics, super PACs "can raise unlimited
sums from corporations, unions and other groups, as well as wealthy
individuals" which they then use to "advocate for the defeat or
of federal candidates." Critics question how independent some of
the super PACs actually are; in several instances people have moved
directly from a campaign to the super PAC. In Sept. 2011 NBC News
obtained documents showing that a
super PAC backing Gov. Rick Perry aimed to spend as much as $55
million. That figure turned out to be vastly inflated.
However, there is no doubt that super PACs are having
a major impact on the race; viewers in contested states have seen
plenty of super
PAC TV ads and mail. Transparency was another concern; some of
PACs changed their filing periods so that they did not need to file
until Jan. 31, 2012, after the early contests had occurred. For
a time President Obama and the Democrats resisted fully engaging in the
super PAC battles, but in a Feb. 6, 2012 email Obama campaign manager
Jim Messina announced that "the campaign has decided to do what we can,
the law, to support Priorities USA in its effort to counter the weight
of the GOP Super PACs."
1.See: Spencer MacColl. "Who's Who in the World of Super PACs?" OpenSecrets, Aug. 24, 2011. Also Democracy 21, Campaign Legal Center and Center for Responsive Politics press release "Elite Donors Do Double Duty: Presidential Super PACs Attract Wealthy Donors Who Have Maxed Out to Candidates," Oct. 4, 2011. And Public Campaign Action Fund report [PDF]. "Mitt Romney's Tax Policy: Of, By and For His Billionaire Donors," April 16, 2012.
2. Steven Colbert (The Colbert Report) drew considerable attention to super PACs with his discussion of a "Colbert SuperPAC," even obtaining an advisory opinion from the FEC [1, 2]. The Colbert Super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, also produced a brilliant video "Undaunted Non-Coordination."
3. Boilerplate language: "This committee intends to make independent expenditures, and consistent witli tlie U.S. Court of Appeals for tlie District of Columbia Circuit decision in SpeechNow v. FEC, it therefore intends to raise funds in unlimited amounts. This committee will not use those funds to make contributions, whether direct, in-kind, or via coordinated communications, to federal candidates or committees."
4. National Defense PAC settlement.
5. Michael Isikoff. "Super PAC backing Rick Perry to spend $55 million to beat rivals, documents reveal." MSNBC, Sept. 6, 2011.
6. While most commentary about super PACs has tended to be critical, the libertarian-oriented Institute for Justice argues that, "“These groups are simply exercising their First Amendment rights to speak out about politics in the course of a campaign.” [press release]
7. Obama for America Feb. 6, 2012 email "We will not play by two sets of rules."
|Super PACs and Other
updated Dec. 25, 2011
* now appear inactive
For or Against Individual Candidates
Keep Conservatives United
"President Obama’s record makes him vulnerable. But who can make the case – a cautious, split the difference politician with a mixed message like Governors Rick Perry or Mitt Romney? No. Only a gutsy true conservative like Michele Bachmann... In an age of increasingly cynical politics, Michele Bachmann represents something quaintly out of style –a straightforward leader who actually believes in and acts upon the convictions she espouses." [July 25, 2011. FEC]
Bob Harris and Luther Snyder. "Bob Harris is a conservative Activist and campaign consultant with a track record of over thirty years. Starting with Jesse Helms in 1978, Harris has been involved in every election cycle since then. In 2010, he handled research for Congresswoman Renee Ellmers and the North Carolina Republican Senate committee in winning the first Republican majority since Reconstruction." "Luther Snyder has spent nearly 15 years in politics and public affairs working with Federal, State, and Local officials and candidates. Most recently he served as Senior Adviser to Renee Ellmers for Congress in 2011 and as Deputy Campaign Manager for Pat McCrory for Governor in 2008."
note 12/25/2011: most recent posting Oct. 31, 2011.
Americans for Herman Cain, a project of 9-9-9 PAC
"Herman Cain has proven that he is a top-tier candidate. Now he needs a top-tier early state operation. We intend to provide reinforcements for the great job his team has done and fight for Herman Cain in these critical early states with some of the top political operatives in the country.
"Herman Cain has the grassroots support. He has the
numbers. He is a conservative. He
can beat Barack Obama. Now it’s our job to put together an operation
that will propel him to victory in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South
Florida, Michigan, and Arizona.
"We’re going to do the basic “blocking and tackling” Herman needs to win in early states. That means doing yard signs, identifying supporters, phone calls, doors knocked, “Friend to Friend” cards, and “Get Out the Vote” operations that can propel Herman Cain to victory in these primaries." [announced Oct. 18, 2011. FEC]
Campaign Director-Jordan Gehrke served as communications director and deputy campaign manager on Sharron Angle's 2010 U.S. Senate campaign in Nevada.
Winning Our Future PAC
"Winning Our Future is based in Atlanta, Georgia and the PAC’s goals include spreading the message of why America needs Newt Gingrich in order to win our future. The guiding principles will be those established by Newt in his new 21st Century Contract with America. The PAC will work aggressively to counter the well-financed efforts of the opposition." [announced Dec. 13, 2011. FEC]
President-Becky Burkett, until earlier this year was vice president and chief development officer of Gingrich's American Solutions for Winning the Future; senior advisor Rick Tyler.
Newt, a project of Solutions 2012
"The media and Washington elite counted Newt down and out. But, as we get down to crunch time, conservatives are finding out what we’ve known all along: Newt Gingrich is articulating real solutions to real problems. People are sick of games; they want a real, conservative leader who can win. More and more conservatives are seeing that Newt is that guy,” said Charlie Smith, Campaign Manager. [announced Nov. 9, 2011.]
Founder-Charlie Smith is a law student at University of Denver and former chairman of the College Republican National Committee.
Our Destiny PAC
"Our Destiny PAC was created to help elect Jon Huntsman, Jr., the next president of the United States. Like independent expenditure PACs that have formed to support other candidates, Our Destiny PAc is an independent committee that will be able to accept unlimited contributions from citizens who support Jon Huntsman." [Aug. 25, 2011. FEC]
Key person-Fred Davis, of Strategic Perception Inc., resigned from the Jon Huntsman for President campaign on July 27, 2011. Treasurer-Thomas E. Muir (a vice president at the Huntsman Corp., but the company says he is acting independently). Legal Counsel-Ron Jacobs.
"The Revolution PAC seeks to widen the range of allowable opinion in the public square and to bring to the attention of the American public the neglected alternative of freedom, sound money, self-government, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. This is the answer to the big-government progressives and big-government neoconservatives who have brought our exhausted country to the brink of collapse.
"Our mission is to support the rare political
candidate who defends
these great American principles in public life. We want to take this
message not just to YouTube but also to the radio and television
airwaves. We intend to make use of the talents of the rising generation
of activists, writers, speakers, graphic designers, and more who are
committed to these great principles of the traditional American
republic. We have found the talent we need to package this message for
the American public. All we need is your support." [July 21,
Advisory Board Chairman-Thomas Woods, Ph.D. is a New York Times bestselling author and senior fellow, Ludwig von Mises Institute. Treasurer-Martin G. Franchi.
Make Us Great Again
"The mission of Make Us Great Again is to support Rick Perry for the Republican nomination for President in 2012, to oppose Barack Obama's reelection, and to support Rick Perry in the general election in November 2012." [July 27, 2011. FEC]
Co-Founders: Mike Toomey (former Perry chief of staff, now an Austin lobbyist) and Brint Ryan (CEO and managing principal of Ryan, a global tax services firm headquartered in Dallas >). Executive Director-Scott Rials (Atlanta, GA). Treasurer-Paul Kilgore (president and founder of PDS Compliance >).
"Veterans for Rick Perry is a nonconnected candidate committee representing veterans and retired military of all U.S. Armed Forces for the purpose of encouraging and promoting the candidacy of Rick Perry for President." [July 15, 2011. FEC]
Dan Shelley (Austin, TX). +
note Sept. 9, 2011 press release... Veterans for Rick Perry: Mission Accomplished (AUSTIN, TX) – Dan Shelley, founder of Veterans for Rick Perry, today released the following statement announcing the organization’s successful completion of its mission: “Veterans for Rick Perry was created to demonstrate veterans’ support for a Rick Perry presidential run, and to draft him into the presidential race. Mission accomplished! “With our objective of encouraging Governor Perry to enter the presidential race accomplished, we have filed the necessary papers to dissolve the non-connected committee, shut down this outfit and entrust next stage logistics to the official Rick Perry presidential campaign. “Veterans recognize Rick Perry as the clear and best candidate for President, and I have been honored to be a part of the organization that led the call to duty charge for his candidacy. Governor Perry’s service to his country and his strong support of veterans and military issues will ensure an administration that respects the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform, and a Commander-in-Chief with the experience to lead.”
ed. this is was a 501(c)(4) not a super PAC but fulfilled a similar independent function...
"Americans for Rick Perry is an independent expenditure committee committed to electing a Conservative President. We believe the best choice is Gov. Rick Perry. As Governor of Texas Rick Perry has created a business friendly environment by lowering taxes, easing regulation, and instituting legal reforms. The result is that Texas has created more jobs over the past 10 years then the rest of the country combined." [July 5, 2011. FEC]
National Campaign Director-Robert Schuman (La Jolla, CA). +
note 12/25/11 Roll Call reported on Sept. 16, 2011 that Americans for Perry would change its name to Restoring Prosperity Fund by Oct. 1 but there does not seem to have been any activity since mid-September.
Restore Our Future
"It is time that we restore our future by supporting candidates who have worked in the private sector and created jobs, who understand the economy, and who believe in America, American workers, and American values." [Oct. 8, 2010. FEC]
Board: Carl Forti of the Black Rock Group, Charlie Spies of Clark Hill, PLC, and Larry McCarthy of McCarthy Hennings Media, Inc. +
Red, White and Blue Fund
"Red White & Blue Fund is greatly impressed with Rick Santorum's record as a solid conservative candidate that Republicans voters can trust... Republicans are looking for a candidate that not only they trust – but that can also beat President Obama. In order to do that, Republicans need to offer a clear alternative to President Obama and his liberal policies." [Oct. 1, 2011. FEC]
Advisors: Stuart Roy, partner at Prism Public Affairs, Nick T. Ryan, founder and president of the Concordia Group, LLC (+). Treasurer: Christopher M. Marston, who earlier in the year served as treasurer for the McCotter campaign.
"Crossroads GPS is a policy and grassroots advocacy organization that is committed to educating, equipping and mobilizing millions of American citizens to take action on the critical economic and legislative issues that will shape our nation’s future in the years ahead." +
Leadership Team: Sally Vastola (Secretary, Board Member), Bobby Burchfield (Board Member), Rob Collins (Board Member), Steven Law (President), Steven Duffield (Policy Director). [FEC]
American Bridge 21st Century
"American Bridge 21st Century is a progressive research and communications organization committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions and helping you ascertain when Republican candidates are pretending to be something they’re not." [Nov. 23, 2010. FEC]
Founder-David Brock, Chair-Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, President-Rodell Mollineau. +
USA/Priorities USA Action
"Priorities USA Action is an Independent Expenditure PAC that supports candidates who will advance policies that provide the strongest and most sound outcomes for middle class families." [April 29, 2011. FEC]
Co-founders: Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney. +
|Super PACs and Other
updated Nov. 14, 2011