Election is over, but 'super PACs' remain a threat
Los Angeles Times - Opinion
Just as the devil's finest trick is persuading you that he doesn't exist (according to the poet Baudelaire), the best trick of big-money political donors may be persuading Americans that Citizens United doesn't matter.
Citizens United, of course, is the infamous 2010 ruling by the Supreme Court that overturned limits on political spending via ostensibly independent groups, and thereby unleashed a torrent of donations from corporations and wealthy individuals in presidential and congressional election cycles.
One of the big post-election punditry themes after last month's election was that it showed big-time spending couldn't help donors like Las Vegas mogul Sheldon Adelson get their way and might even have worked against them. A determined Obama foe, Adelson donated $20 million to a "super PAC" supporting Mitt Romney, and at least $32 million more to other conservative groups in an election widely seen as a rout of the right wing. The conclusion was: Hoo boy, did he waste his money.
This sort of schadenfreude by liberals and progressives — or is it "Sheldonfreude"? — is misplaced and dangerous. Influence by corporations and the wealthy still counts for a lot in our electoral process, and it's only going to count for more. Citizens United still needs an antidote. READ MORE
Thomas Fitzgerald: Winning while losing
Philadelphia Enquirer - Opinion
In national politics, this was the year of the super PAC. Along with "dark money" nonprofits that don't have to disclose their donors, they poured billions into the 2012 election, most of it boosting Mitt Romney and Republican candidates for Congress.
Yet Big Money won barely a third of the races it tried to sway, according to the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation. "Seldom has so much been spent for so little," said political scientist Thomas Mann…
Several of the top experts in campaign-finance law said last week, however, that the win-loss record is not an accurate measure of the harm done by the money now sloshing around the political system.
"The real danger of the super PACs is they provide potential corrupting influence for their big donors over government decisions, and that's true regardless of who wins the elections," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21 and a longtime advocate of controlling campaign cash. READ MORE
Obama campaign fundraising best in history
It's official. For any future White House aspirant to become the greatest fundraiser of all-time, they're going to have to pass the current holder of that title, President Barack Obama, and his record of $1.4 billion raised by his personal campaign committee during his two successful runs for the White House.
The president's campaign, Obama for America, filed its final campaign finance report on Thursday covering the last two and a half weeks of the 2012 election. The report revealed that from Oct. 18 until the Election Day on Nov. 6 the president raised $88 million and spent $176 million. That far exceeded the $66 million raised by his rival Mitt Romney and the $107 million spent by the Republican presidential nominee during the same period. READ MORE
Obama will accept corporate money to finance inauguration
The New York Times - Caucus Blog
President Obama will accept unlimited donations from corporations — but no money from lobbyists or political action committees — to finance his 2013 inaugural festivities, a spokeswoman for his inaugural committee said on Friday.
The move is a break from Mr. Obama’s policy in 2009, when he refused corporate donations for activities related to the inauguration. The committee also said the events surrounding Mr. Obama’s inauguration will be smaller in scope than four years ago; the White House is mindful of the fragile state of the economy and does not want a show of opulence. READ MORE