CNN: Senate Democrats to hold Super PAC hearings

-By Ted Barrett

February 1, 2012- Washington (CNN) – Senate Democrats announced Tuesday they will hold hearings beginning later this month examining what they see as the negative impact of super PACs on the election process.

They also will work to develop legislation to require the disclosure of all donors to the increasingly powerful political organizations.

At the hearings, Democrats will ask organizers and possibly donors to testify.

"The more the public learn about this, the more reviled they will be about what's happening," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. "That involves having hearings and asking people why they gave and what motivated them. Showing people the affects."

Democrats wouldn't say who they would ask to testify, but at a news conference they repeatedly complained about two organizations run by Republican Karl Rove that raised $51 million last year – $33 million of which came from undisclosed donors.

Super PACs are flooding the airwaves with advertising during the Republican presidential primaries and caucuses.

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NBC News: Afternoon Read: Virginia AG Launches Investigation Into Gingrich Campaign

-By Perry Stein

January 31, 2012– Virginia officials confirmed today that the State Attorney General’s Office has launched an investigation into Newt Gingrich’s campaign over fake ballot petition signatures, The Brad Blog reported.

Gingrich failed to collect the necessary 10,000 petition signatures to get on the Virginia primary ballot.

The former GOP House speaker was heard saying on a video first aired on CNN that the reason he didn’t get enough signatures was because a campaign worker fraudulently collected 1,500 signatures.

"We turned in 11,100 — we needed 10,000 — 1,500 of them were by one guy who, frankly, committed fraud," Gingrich is heard saying in the video.

Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified to be on the Republican primary ballot in Virginia.

The National Journal commented on the ballot quandary:

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Salon: Can a super PAC be a force for good?

We talk to a former Vermont legislator whose PAC promotes progressive causes and has a plan to restore transparency

-By Heather Michon

This originally appeared on Heather Michon's Open Salon blog.

With the presidential race looking like a dull Obama-Romney plod to November, the most memorable thing about this election cycle may end up having nothing to do with the candidates.

Instead, 2012 seems poised to go down in the history books as the Year of the Super PAC.

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