Pro-Hillary PAC Funds Senate Races

PAC Attacks Sen. Pat Toomey (PA-R).

PAC Attacks Sen. Pat Toomey (PA-R).

by Jeff Singer of Daily Kos Elections

With Donald Trump’s numbers in the gutter nationwide, the well-funded pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC, Priorities USA, can devote some of its resources to ensuring that Clinton gets to work with a Democratic majority in the Senate. The PAC is attacking Republican senate candidates for being aligned with Trump. [Read more…]

Emergency Committee for Israel: The Emperor Has No Clothes

— by David A. Harris

Republicans are spending a great deal of cash this election cycle attacking President Barack Obama in the Jewish community by fibbing about his powerful support for the U.S.-Israel relationship, and smearing his unprecedented efforts to stop Iran’s drive towards a nuclear weapon.

Why? Because they know that venturing into domestic issues is a non-starter for the vast majority of Jews, even if what they’re saying regarding the Middle East isn’t true. Republican Jewish groups and the so-called “Emergency Committee for Israel” (ECI) have been at the vanguard of this effort, with ECI even forming a Super PAC related to their non-profit organization.

All along, observers might have assumed that the leaders of these efforts at least believed what they were selling, facts be damned. But now we know better. Now we know that they’re just trying to get their guy elected, and they don’t even believe their own arguments; we know this based on their own public statements.

A co-leader of ECI, the well-known conservative William Kristol, recently spoke in New   York at a debate in front of a Jewish crowd. Given ECI’s history up to the present day of unfairly lambasting the president’s strong Israel policy, Kristol surely came out swinging at the president, right? Hardly. The Israeli paper Haaretz reported that Kristol said Obama’s “policies today resemble those of his predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.” What? “I am happy to agree with Obama to a considerable degree,” Kristol added. And his take on the Israel policy differences between Obama and Romney? “Not that great.”

Did Kristol try to walk-back his hour-long moment of truth? Of course. But I don’t know how you unring that bell. My question is, given his confession, will ECI stop viciously and falsely attacking the president as being somehow virulently anti-Israel — attacks which have been condemned by the nonpartisan mainstream of the American Jewish community?

At long last, we can see that this emperor — Bill Kristol, and ECI — have no clothes.

Originally published in Politico.

Even Mitt’s Wallet Has Its Limits

The Romney campaign has been the 800-pound gorilla in the Republican primary. Throwing his money around he was able to completely saturate the Iowa, Florida, South Carolina and Michigan airwaves with attack ads that his opponents lacked the resources to respond to.

However, in order to keep up an intense offensive like that you need cash. He has been burning money faster than he has been raising it. Moreover, these charts from Talking Point Memo show that most of Romney’s money has come from big donors who have already given the maximum legal donation of $2,500. He cannot get any money from them until after the Republican National Convention, August 27-30.

Presumably Romney will have to rely more and more on his Super PAC “Restore Our Future” which accepts unlimited contributions such as $1,300,000 last month from hedge fund founder Julian Roberts and $2,000,000 from cosmetic company founder Steven Lund. After all, Romney’s staff does not want to have to give up its luxury hotels.

The Big Money Behind Romney And His Super-PAC

Time Magazine has analyzed the Federal Election Commission filings for January to determine who has been contributing to the Super PAC’s which have been dominating the Republican primaries:

The group supporting Mitt Romney, who swept Florida’s primary on Tuesday, identified bankers, investors and prominent businessmen who together contributed more than $30 million last year. The group’s three most generous donors gave $1 million each, or 400 times the amount they could legally give directly to Romney. All were hedge fund managers. The pro-Romney group Restore Our Future spent much of the money it raised on ads supporting the former Massachusetts governor or fiercely attacking his rivals… To be sure, the Romney-leaning super PAC isn’t alone in its high-dollar contributions to support candidates. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife gave $10 million this month to the pro-Gingrich Winning Our Future super PAC, making the couple by far the key backers to a group that had only raised $2 million through the end of December

Super PACs Dominate Political Campaign


Entertaining video encourage people to participate in the National Week of Action January 16-23 to overturn the Citizens United decision.

Following the Citizens United ruling it has become de rigeur for all political campaigns to be accompanied by a Super PAC run by its supporters but “official uncoordinated” with the campaign. Since donations to these political action committees is unlimited and is not subject to as much scrutiny, unprecedented money is flowing into these PACs, drawfing the actual money raised and spent by the candidate’s official campaign. Indeed without a “scorecard” it is not obvious which candidate they actually support:

  • Mitt Romney’s Super PAC: Restore Our Future
  • Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC: Winning Our Future
  • Rick Perry’s Super PAC: Make Us Great Again
  • Ron Paul’s Super PAC: Revolution
  • Jon Huntsman PAC: Our Destiny
  • Rick Santorum’s PAC: Red, White and Blue

The claim of PAC independence gives candidates the plausible deniability which enables Super PAC to launch vicious attacks without fear of tainting the candidate they support.

Newt Gingrich: Governor [Romney], I wish you would calmly and directly state it is your former staff running the PAC. It is your millionaire friends giving to the PAC. And you know some of the ads aren’t true. Just say that. It’s straightforward. (APPLAUSE)

Mitt Romney: Well, of course it’s former staff of mine. And, of course they’re people who support me. They wouldn’t be putting money into a PAC that supports me if they weren’t people who support me. And with regards to their ads, I haven’t seen them. And, as you know, under the law, I can’t direct their ads. If there’s anything in them that’s wrong, I hope they take it out. I hope everything that’s wrong is taken out. But let me tell you this. The ad I saw said that you’d been forced out of the speakership. That was correct.

Commercial being run in South Carolina by “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow”, also known as “The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC”. (Press release below.)

Political satirist Stephen Colbert “is currently exploring a run for President of the United States of South Carolina” although he is not on the ballot and write-in vote are not allowed in the South Carolina primary, so accordingly Colbert has transferred control of his Super PAC to his friend and producer John Stewart so that he can get unlimited support from his Super PAC.

Their press release follows the jump.

The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC Releases First Ad

AMERICA – The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC released its first TV ad today, in advance of South Carolina’s upcoming unnamed GOP Primary. The ad, which takes an objective look at Mitt Romney’s private sector experience, is entitled “Attack In B Minor For Strings.”

“Mitt Romney claims to be pro-corporations,” said Jon Stewart, President of The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC. “But would you let him date your daughter’s corporation? Americans have been clamoring for a comprehensive study of this crucial issue, so we splurged for the full sixty-second commercial. We think South Carolinians will agree – they deserve a leader who shares their state’s values, and perhaps even their state’s initials.”

The new spot begins airing today in a major ad buy that will blanket South Carolina from Charleston all the way to North Charleston. Those of you with some free AOL hours left can view the ad above.

The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC, officially known as Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, is an independent, expenditure-only committee that’s been proudly serving the community since late Thursday.  

Colbert Highlights Super PAC Farce

— by Jonathan Backer

A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both. — James Madison

By exploiting loopholes in campaign finance law, special interests have already succeeded in denying the public of essential information about the sources of money funding political speech. A farcical attempt by one group to keep the public in the dark while also coordinating its message with candidates makes for good political comedy now, but will lead to tragedy if our elected officials begin to feel the full corrupting influence of unlimited, undisclosed, corporate contributions.

In the latest installment of Stephen Colbert’s intrepid quest to expose the absurdities of campaign finance non-regulation in the post-Citizens United era, the comedian recently discussed a new attempt by Super PACs to circumvent the few constraints that remain on their electioneering activities. The Super PAC American Crossroads recently submitted a request to the Federal Election Commission seeking permission for federal candidates to appear in its purportedly “independent” ads. The group acknowledged that ads featuring candidates would be “fully coordinated with incumbent Members of Congress facing re-election in 2012.” After all, a Super PAC would obviously have to share a script and discuss the contents of an ad with a candidate in order for her to appear in it. Nevertheless, American Crossroads would like the FEC to issue an advisory opinion stating that such ads would not qualify as “coordination.”

More after the jump.
As the Brennan Center argued in a comment to the FEC, this position runs afoul of “[c]onstitutional law, federal statutes, and common sense.” Fortunately, common sense was no barrier to Stephen Colbert, who rose to the challenge and submitted a comment to the FEC in support of American Crossroads’ request. As Colbert wrote, “The candidate would merely be appearing as a paid spokesperson, who, coincidentally, is closely aligned with the candidate that he or she also is.” To illustrate the paper-thin separation between supposedly independent Super PACs and the candidates they support, Colbert offered an illuminating metaphor:

For example, an ad in which the Kool Aid man decries our nation-wide childhood thirst problem would not necessarily be an ad for Kool Aid brand juice drink. That being said, would a tall glass of Kool-Aid solve that thirst problem? To quote one expert: “Oh, yeaaahhhh!”

Colbert’s letter far and away outstrips the competition for funniest public comment to a regulatory agency, but even the comedian’s most ardent fans recognize that the consequences of a ruling in favor of American Crossroads are far from amusing. After Colbert emailed his comment to supporters of Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow (Colbert Super PAC), hundreds of individuals emailed the FEC calling for the agency to deny American Crossroads’ request.

As one civically-engaged student, wrote,

As a young citizen of this country, I shudder to think of the ferocity at which campaigns are currently forced to solicit donations-the thought that they will be fighting for an even bigger chunk of shadowy money absolutely terrifies me….I hope we can find ways to avoid exacerbating this problem.

Comedians and middle-school students don’t constitute what one would describe as usual suspects for submitting public comments on advisory opinion requests to the FEC. But the legal gymnastics that groups like American Crossroads are performing to subvert campaign finance regulations touch a nerve with large numbers of Americans. A request as absurd as American Crossroads’ belongs properly in the realm of farce, and the FEC should heed the outpouring of opposition and refuse to further expose our democracy to the tragic consequences of outright corruption in the political process.

Reprinted courtesy of the Brennan Center for Justice.