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.
May 7, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- Liberal philanthropist and financial guru George Soros is donating $1 million to American Bridge 21st Century, a “super PAC” that serves as a opposition research clearinghouse for pro-Democratic groups, his spokesman announced Monday evening. Soros' donation, first reported by the New York Times , is his first major political contribution of the 2012 cycle. He gave $175,000 last year to super PACs backing Democratic congressional candidates. Soros, whose worth is estimated at $22 billion by Forbes, is one of the most sought-after donors on the left.
January 27, 2012
The U.S. Senatecontest in Massachusetts between Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren is fascinating not just because it's one of the more competitive races for the upper house, or because it's likely to be the most expensive in history, but because of a strange and unusually honorable deal struck this week by the two candidates. Under their agreement, if an independent group such as a "super PAC" buys a TV ad backing one of the candidates, that candidate will donate an amount equal to half the cost of the ad to the charity of the opponent's choice.
March 21, 2012 |
Billionaire political patrons filled the coffers of the presidential "super PACs" last month, spotlighting once again the enormous influence a tiny cadre of wealthy donors is having on the 2012 race. The biggest donations came from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his family, who pumped an additional $5.5 million into the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future in February - 95% of the money the group raised, according to documents filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.
February 3, 2012 |
President Obama's first campaign ad of 2012 decried "secretive billionaires attacking" him through conservative nonprofit groups that do not reveal their contributors. But two Democratic nonprofit groups that do not disclose their donors made payments last year to their affiliated "super PACs," a tactic that can be used to undermine transparency. Priorities USA Action, a group started by two former Obama White House aides, accepted $215,000 from its tax-exempt arm, Priorities USA, for "operating expenses," according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.
January 1, 2012 |
Political committees unfettered by donation limits are dominating the last weeks of the presidential nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, funding aggressive attack campaigns that are swamping the efforts of the candidates themselves. In Ohio, $3 million in ads funded by secret donors have already been aired against the state's incumbent Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown - a year before the election. In California, three of the committees financed by unlimited donations have formed in recent weeks to back Rep. Howard L. Berman of Valley Village, who has been forced by redistricting into a primary battle against fellow Democratic incumbent Brad Sherman of Sherman Oaks.
January 31, 2012 |
The new role that the super-rich play in electoral politics began to emerge with greater clarity Tuesday as recently formed "super PACs" publicly reported their donors and expenses for 2011. Restore Our Future, the super PAC backing Mitt Romney's candidacy, raised $30 million during 2011, thanks in part to separate $1-million donations from three New York-based hedge fund executives: Paul Singer, Robert Mercer and Julian Robertson. Two privately held corporations each gave $1 million to Romney as well.
March 14, 2012 |
Alabama Rep. Spencer Bachus won the Republican nomination for the seat he has represented in Congress for 20 years, beating back three primary challengers and an anti-incumbent "super PAC. " The primary victory almost certainly assures him another term. But the narrowness with which he won - Bachus had 59% of the vote with 87% of precincts reporting, compared with the 76% he claimed in the 2010 primary - suggests that the campaign against him, coupled with allegations that he engaged in insider trading, has bruised his standing with voters.