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November 17, 2012
Super PACs are still a bad idea. Corporations should not be able to give unlimited sums to political campaigns. It is bad for our democracy.
Bill Burton, co-founder of an Obama-supporting super PAC, Priorities USA. This is a significant question for Democrats: Should progressives who oppose the very existence of super PACs also oppose progressive super PACS? Or is the utilization of super PACS a necessary step to changing the legal framework that makes them possible? Burton seems to believes it’s the second. “Citizens United harms our country, not just the liberal cause,” he says. “I’m proud of the work we did at Priorities in this election, but this system is broken and needs reform.” source (paywall)
1:16 // 1 year ago
November 16, 2012
newsbeastlabs:

A defining characteristic of this election cycle was Super PACs and the hundreds of millions of dollars outside groups were spending to influence races. Now that it’s all over, we wanted to see which outside groups spent their money on succssful races and which did not. The result was our interactive Not-So-Super PACs: 2012’s Winners and Losers.
…

It’s a bit confusing at first, but the interactive version of this chart (behind the link) is awesome. The thickness of the lines indicate how much money was given, and the success rate of the various PACS is in ascending order on the X-axis. The take-home message? Democrats spent a lot less on super PACS this cycle, yet enjoyed a much, much higher success rate at the ballot box.

newsbeastlabs:

A defining characteristic of this election cycle was Super PACs and the hundreds of millions of dollars outside groups were spending to influence races. Now that it’s all over, we wanted to see which outside groups spent their money on succssful races and which did not. The result was our interactive Not-So-Super PACs: 2012’s Winners and Losers.

It’s a bit confusing at first, but the interactive version of this chart (behind the link) is awesome. The thickness of the lines indicate how much money was given, and the success rate of the various PACS is in ascending order on the X-axis. The take-home message? Democrats spent a lot less on super PACS this cycle, yet enjoyed a much, much higher success rate at the ballot box.

16:27 // 1 year ago
October 9, 2012
I am hoping to work myself out of a job.
David Donnelly, co-founder of Friends of Democracy, on the irony of backing a super PAC that aims to abolish super PACs. (via The New York Times)

If this guy gets laid off, it doesn’t count against our unemployment rate. 

(via officialssay)

9:47 // 2 years ago
September 28, 2012

Super PACS pay a whole lot more for ad time than candidates’ campaigns

$125 the price President Obama’s campaign paid for a slot of ad time in Ohio

$900 the price a conservative super PAC paid for the same amount of ad time in the same state source

A rarely-discussed fact about super PACS: Under federal law, they’re charged a substantially higher rate for ad time than candidates’ campaigns. One implication of this is that candidates who are supported primarily by super PACS get a lot less bang for their buck than candidates who pay for ads with their own campaigns. This excellent chart, courtesy of Paul Blumenthal at Huffington Post, says it all:

Keep in mind that Florida is a must-win state for Mitt Romney, yet for all of his supposed financial advantages, he’s buying less ad time there than Obama (h/t Jon Chait).

18:27 // 2 years ago
June 16, 2012
Obviously, maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign.
Sen. John McCain • Criticizing the recent $10 million donation casino magnate Sheldon Adelson made to Mitt Romney’s Super PAC by suggesting that Adelson likely used profits from properties he owns in the Chinese special administrative region of Macau to fund Romney’s campaign. (It’s an issue near and dear to McCain’s heart, as the campaign finance bill that Citizens United largely struck down, McCain-Feingold, bears his name.) The Las Vegas Sands head also played a heavy role in the primaries, heavily funding Newt Gingrich’s electoral efforts. While people from foreign countries cannot fund election efforts, McCain is arguing that efforts like Adelson’s skirt around this, due to the fact that Adelson is the leader of a multinational corporation. Follow McCain’s logic here?
22:18 // 2 years ago
May 14, 2012

Republican Super PAC angles for votes the GOP usually doesn’t get

  • what New Republican Super PAC Crossroads Generation, which has raised $750,000 from a number of Republican seed groups, plans to launch a $50,000 social media campaign in a number of swing states, including Ohio and Virginia.
  • why They want to pull some of the the youth vote away from Obama; Young Republicans will help the Super PAC on college campuses. Key selling points? The very high youth unemployment rate, along with student loan debt. source
10:08 // 2 years ago
April 26, 2012

Obama too cool for Karl Rove? American Crossroads, Karl Rove’s Super PAC, just released this ad mocking the president’s rep for doing cool things, such as slow-jamming with Jimmy Fallon, by dropping in a bit of reality towards the end of this clip. Thoughts? (ht Zeke Miller of BuzzFeed)

8:38 // 2 years ago
April 22, 2012
Contrary to what many believe, the central effect of such negative advertising isn’t to move voters from supporting another candidate to backing yours, as Mitt Romney and his allies have discovered during this primary season. The main effect is not even to move undecided voters into your column. No, the real effect of negative advertising is to energize and solidify support among your ideological base while turning everyone else off to the other candidate, the campaign and the entire electoral process. Negative advertising isn’t about changing minds; it’s about altering the composition of the voter pool on Election Day by turning moderate voters into non-voters.
The Washington Post’s Stephen Pearlstein • Offering a counterpoint to Ezra Klein’s point from the other night; Pearlstein suggests politicians want people to turn off from the political process, because it helps them stabilize the electoral pool come election time. Which is how we get stuff like Obama eating dog food on an Etch A Sketch with Mitt Romney’s face drawn on it, or something like that.
20:33 // 2 years ago
April 21, 2012

Romney campaign cash on hand x 10 = Obama campaign cash on hand

  • $104 million the amount of cash the juggernaut-like Obama campaign had on hand at the end of March
  • $10.1 million the amount of cash the finally-validated Romney campaign had on hand at the end of March source

» But at least Romney has Super PAC backing: While Obama more than doubled Romney’s fundraising total in March — $35 million to $12.6 million — Romney’s stayed competitive with the help of the Super PAC supporting him, Restore Our Future. Other Super PACs are helping too — the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads, which is expected to ratchet up the Obama attack ads, raised $31.2 million in March — and the RNC’s fundraising is back on track after a fairly rough stretch under Michael Steele. One thing Romney hasn’t done this time around is put his own money into the campaign, like he did in 2008 when he threw $40 million in the pot. Think Mitt can prove formidable despite the cash deficit?

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11:10 // 2 years ago
March 18, 2012
The Super PACs have played a key role, unfortunately, in my view, because most of them are negative ads. They’ve driven up the unfavorables of all of the candidates and made it much more difficult, frankly, to win the election in November.
Sen. John McCain • Speaking on the 2012 presidential election, which he called “the nastiest I have ever seen.” Remember, this is coming from the guy who once was falsely accused of birthing a black child out of wedlock. So his standards are pretty high as far as nasty races go. McCain, a longtime advocate of campaign finance reform, went further, calling the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision “the worst decision the United States Supreme Court has made in many years.”
19:27 // 2 years ago