Monday, May 21, 2012

SuperPACs: faster than a speeding bullet; able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Is this even politics?/ NY Times

Why are Super PACs different than all other PACs?  [No, we are not discussing Passover tonight.]  See what the NY Times has to say.  But here is a quick summary:

  1. Super PACs can accept and spend donations throughout the year, not just during election periods
  2. Super PACs have few or maybe only one donor, and therefore no public accountability
  3. The donors set the agendas, not the candidates
  4. Funding is not limited by campaign spending limits on regular PACs
  5. It's fast cause you don't have to get contributions from lots of associates, then bundle them; instead, wealthy donors can just write one fat check for, well, the sky's the limit!
  6. The campaigns may be ethically and factually challenged
  7. There is unlimited gravy available for political consultants in advertising commissions 
Per the Times:
... Once seasonal affairs, campaigns from the presidential race down to House contests are becoming longer and more intense, driven by deep-pocketed donors eager to see incumbents pummeled throughout the political cycle. Decisions about attack ads and negative campaigning that once weighed on candidates are now made by consultants and donors with little or no accountability to the public.
“It’s not just easier to raise super PAC money — it’s dramatically easier,” Mr. Davis, a prominent Republican advertising strategist, said. “We raised more money than the Huntsman campaign, but we only had 20 or 30 donors.”

... With the primaries winding down, many consultants are turning to “boutique” super PACs, smaller outfits set up on behalf of a few donors — sometimes only one — to influence a few House and Senate races and other lower-profile campaigns. And some of the presidential super PACs are refashioning themselves as platforms for their vanquished candidates or as vehicles for general election spending. Mr. Schuman converted Americans for Rick Perry into the Restoring Prosperity Fund, with some of the same donors. The group will focus on Latino turnout and on efforts to help Mr. Romney in what Mr. Schuman called “second-tier” battleground states like Nevada and Colorado.
Super PACs offer advantages to the donors as well. Because they can give unlimited amounts to outside groups, they can have substantial influence without the hard work of raising money for a candidate, $2,500 check by $2,500 check, from other donors.
And super PACs allow them to spend on specific races or strategies, a development that could leave some candidates less dependent on party committees to decide whether they get the support they feel they need.
“You can’t roll into the National Republican Senatorial Committee and say: ‘Here is my check. I want it to go to these races,’ ” said one consultant who works with outside groups. “And you can with the super PAC.”

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