LA Times: Hunted by the ‘super PACs’

Conservatives applauded the Citizens United ruling. But now GOP candidates are feeling the heat.

Editorial

January 14, 2012- When the Supreme Court handed down its 2010 decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, reaction tended to break along familiar lines: Conservatives saw it as an affirmation of free speech, while liberals warned of the effects of lifting restrictions on corporate contributions to campaigns. (The political reaction mirrored the court's own split, which was 5 to 4, with the more liberal justices dissenting.)

If contributions are a form of speech, conservatives reasoned, then the Constitution can't permit restrictions on speech by corporations — or unions, for that matter — any more than it can on individuals. Liberal critics, meanwhile, rejected the idea that corporations had the same free-speech rights as individuals and bewailed the rush of spending that the ruling would permit.

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Huffington Post: Super PAC Disclosure Requirements Hot Topic Of Conversation Among GOP Candidates

-By Sam Stein

January 5, 2012- TILTON, N.H. — The rapid rise and far-reaching impact of super PACs — the well-financed non-party groups that helped carry former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to victory in the Iowa caucuses — have persuaded some prominent Republicans that restrictions of some sort on the groups' activities may be in order.

In an interview with The Huffington Post on Wednesday evening, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said he saw no legal way in which to limit the amount of money that these groups could spend or raise. But he said that both he and the candidate he supports, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, believed firmly that the names of the donors funding those groups should be subject to near instantaneous disclosure.

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AlterNet: ‘Citizens United’ Unleashed a Monster: Why the Real Winner In the Iowa Caucuses Is the Big-Money Super PAC

They can spend unlimited amounts of money. They don't disclose donors until after the votes are counted. They deluged Iowa with millions of dollars of harsh negative ads.

-By Steven Rosenfeld

January 4, 2012- The real winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses may not be any of the Republican candidates, but a new political animal that is ugly, loud, anti-democratic and coming to your state in the upcoming primaries and caucuses: the super PAC.

These creatures—unleashed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling allowing direct corporate funding for “electioneering ads”—are satellite political campaigns that supposedly act independently of the candidates.

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Think Progress: Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown Targeted By Super PACs

-By Andrew Migra

December 26, 2011- Watch the political advertising and Elizabeth Warren, the leading Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts, either "sides with extreme left" protesters or has a history of being too cozy with Wall Street. Or Republican freshman Sen. Scott Brown, whom she hopes to defeat next year, is portrayed as an enemy of the environment.

Outside groups on both sides are spending millions of dollars on the race, highlighting the national prominence of the fight over the seat held for nearly 50 years by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. But the level of spending also foreshadows the role that such groups, including special political action committees, will play in many of next fall's big political matchups.

The flood of money and ads from outside the state is expected to surge as the Warren-Brown race intensifies.

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USA Today: Outsider campaign spending linked to GOP candidates surges

-By Fredreka Schouten

December 19, 2011- Independent groups supporting Republican presidential candidates have sprung to life, funding a flurry of new commercials in recent days to influence the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses and other early primary contests.

Restore Our Future, a conservative "super" PAC promoting Mitt Romney, is running $300,000 worth of ads in Florida that question the conservative credentials of GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich. The group also is spending $3.1 million in Iowa.

The Red White and Blue Fund, a super PAC backing former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum's presidential bid, recently launched a $200,000 Iowa advertising campaign.

Overall, candidate-specific super PACs have reported spending more than $6.8 million this year. Nearly $2.7 million of that was spent in the past week, Federal Election Commission records show.

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