To Be President Never Cost So Much: The Era of the Super PAC
As the Presidential race heats up it is apparent that without access to very large sums of campaign finances you can not run a sustained bid for the office of the the President of the United States. Last count, it may take well over one billion dollars (see chart below) to run in this current election. Politically, I find this obscene, profane and not in the long-term best interest of the American people. It would possibly deter good future candidates from running for the Presidential office simply because they will not be able to raise the monies required for a long arduous campaign. Some call it the “best government money can buy“. Regardless of existing campaign finance reform, the creation of something called the Super PAC (Political Action Committee) takes advantage of a major legislative loophole which we are about to explore.
Many of you have heard of the Super PAC. It has been a part of the major news cycles for months. But like everything political, it is always important to educate yourself on instruments utilsed by political parties to get their candidates elected. So let us explore how the Super PAC works. Who the largest donors are and which political party and candidate they are supporting? Here is a little history to consider when thinking about the Super PAC. It was 2010 when a new political committee called the Super PAC entered the American political lexicon. Officially they are known as “independent-expenditure only committees”.
Unlike traditional PACs they can not offer financial donations directly to a candidate’s campaign or to their political party. All of a Super PACs political contributions must be used independently. A candidate themselves can not publicly acknowledge a Super PAC has any connection to their campaign but the Super PAC can do a number of things which benefit the candidate. For example, they can run print advertisements, television commercials, fund research which works in the favour of the candidate and the list goes on. Additionally, unlike traditional PACs, they can raise funds from not only individuals but from corporations, unions and other groups without legal limits. The “without legal limits” should concern us all.
It is important to understand the legislation behind the existence of the Super PAC.
“Super PACs were made possible by two judicial decisions. First, in January 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court held in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that government may not prohibit unions and corporations from making independent expenditure for political purposes. Two months later, in Speechnow.org v. FEC, the Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that contributions to groups that only make independent expenditures could not be limited in the size and source of contributions to the group.” – Source: Wikipedia
So far in this Presidential campaign, most of the financial contributions to Super PACs came from wealthy individuals donors and not corporations. “As of April 08, 2012, 412 groups organized as Super PACs have reported total receipts of $154,859,810 and total independent expenditures of $86,322,408 in the 2012 cycle.”. – Source, OpenSecrets.org
The following URLs provide links to lists of the top donors to Super PACs impacting this Presidential campaign season:
Here are the Top 5 Super PAC individual donors: Sheldon Adelson, Harold Clark Simmons, Bob Perry, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Jerry Perenchio. Now that you have been educated, what say YE?!!!