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Entries in Super PACs (14)

Friday
Oct192012

Pro-Obama Super PAC Outraises Romney Super PAC, Again

William Thomas Cain/Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For the second consecutive month, the main pro-Obama super PAC has outraised its Romney-backing counterpart.

Priorities USA Action raised $15.2 million in September, according to a spokeswoman. The group has not yet officially reported its total to the Federal Election Commission, with Saturday being the deadline.

Restore Our Future, the main super PAC that has backed Romney since the GOP primary, raised $14.8 million in September, according to a disclosure already filed with the FEC.

Restore seems to have become the first super PAC to surpass $100 million in money raised. The other major Republican super PAC, the Karl-Rove-backed American Crossroads, has not yet reached that mark, raising $66.8 million since its inception in 2010. But along with the affiliated 501(c)4 Crossroads GPS, the two groups have surpassed that mark, as GPS raised $76 million in 2010 and 2011, according to tax returns released in April. The FEC lists 773 super PAC filers (including “Zombies of Tomorrow”), many of them small or defunct; it’s unlikely any have surpassed Restore’s total.

Last month, Priorities outraised Restore for the first time ever, taking in $10.1 million to Restore’s $7 million. September was Priorities’ largest fundraising month to date.

Other Democratic super PACs aren’t doing so badly, either. Majority PAC, which focuses on Senate races, announced having raised $10.4 million in September, with another $9.7 million raised through Oct. 17. House Majority PAC, a group dedicated to House races, tells ABC News it took in $5.9 million in September and is on track to double that in October. September was the best fundraising month ever for both groups.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun252012

Corporate Money in State Races Likely After Supreme Court Decision

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court’s decision upholding Citizens United in Montana Monday proved one thing: that corporate money in politics is here to stay.

In a short, anonymous (per curiam) decision, the court effectively ruled 5-4 to invalidate a Montana state law that prohibits corporate spending in connection with candidates and elections, contradicting the Montana Supreme Court’s rejection of a challenge to it.

In doing so, the court upheld its own landmark campaign-finance decision in all 50 states.

“The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law. There can be no serious doubt that it does,” the majority justices wrote.

In setting that standard, the Supreme Court paved the way for corporations to spend money on elections in other states where, despite the Citizens United ruling, laws still ban the practice. In 2010, 24 states banned election spending by corporations and/or unions, the National Conference of State Legislatures noted.

“Today’s immigration ruling will have a significant impact on our country, but a case can be made that this Montana ruling will have every bit as much of an impact on a larger population, on a larger host of issues, because it now opens up free speech to groups who have in the past been prohibited from being involved in elections,” said GOPAC President David Avella, whose political training group supports Republicans in state and local races.

In states that still ban corporate spending, Avella said super PACs have yet to form, and that independent groups have hesitated to begin using corporate money to support or oppose candidates. Because laws remain on the books, and because it might take a while for state legislatures to remove them following the Supreme Court’s Montana ruling, Avella said corporate money might not flood into state races this year.

“That will be interesting to see, whether it happens in this cycle, whether it happens in the 2012 cycle,” Avella said. “It may take us until the 2014 cycle to start seeing more of a movement that way. Certainly, this ruling has to encourage advocates of free speech to start standing up for their rights at the state level.”

With corporate money cemented into place at the federal and state levels, campaign-finance reformers are left to pursue another issue entirely: disclosure.

With the Montana matter closed, the vanguard of campaign-finance haggling is now being undertaken by the Obama campaign, which is pressing for a disclosure of donors by Crossroads GPS, a prominent, Karl Rove-co-founded 501(c)4 nonprofit group affiliated with but technically separate from the American Crossroads super PAC.

Obama for America and Democratic National Committee General Counsel Robert F. Bauer submitted a complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) earlier this month arguing that Crossroads GPS meets certain standards that should require it to begin disclosing the names of its donors to the FEC.

Pursuant to federal law and Supreme Court decisions, a group must disclose its donors’ identities if the group’s “majority purpose” is to influence elections. To avoid crossing that threshold, 501(c)4 groups engage in “issue advocacy” that sometimes involves mentioning candidates, and can look and sound like election activity. Groups claiming 501(c)4 status implicitly maintain that a “majority” of their activity is geared toward “issue advocacy” or some other non-electoral aim.

The Obama campaign contends that Crossroads GPS has crossed that threshold.

“There has never been any doubt about [Crossroads GPS's] true purpose: to elect candidates of its choice to the presidency and the Congress,” Bauer wrote in a letter to the FEC. The complaint cited TV ads, aired in battleground states, in which Crossroads GPS disparaged Democratic candidates, including President Obama, but did not exhort listeners to vote against them.

Obama lodged no such complaints against super PACs and other well-funded groups like unions, who produce the same types of ads in support of him.

The future of this challenge is uncertain. The FEC uses a broad array of factors to determine whether a group like Crossroads GPS must disclose. In its evaluation of the Swiftboat Veterans and POWs for Truth’s 2004 activity, for instance, the FEC announced in 2007 that it had examined statements made to donors, public statements on the group’s website, statements by a member of the group’s steering committee on a news program, and statements in fundraising solicitations. Internal documents are also fair game.

The FEC does not announce its investigations publicly, so it’s unclear whether the commission is looking into the Obama campaign’s complaint. A six-member panel of three Republicans and three Democrats, the FEC has a reputation both for reluctance to police campaign-finance violations and for deadlocking on decisions with partisan implications.

But if it does pursue the matter of disclosure -- with Crossroads GPS, or with other groups of the same ilk -- there’s no guarantee that the FEC will do anything before the November election.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May212012

GOP Super PACs Dominate

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Republicans are still winning at the super PAC game.

Since the newest money-group species was released into the campaign ecosystem in 2010, Democrats have been slower to exploit the legal changes they railed against. Now, they’re lagging behind GOP super PACs’ bank accounts.

In Federal Election Commission disclosures posted online Sunday night, the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future declared a $4.6 million April fundraising take, along with $8.2 million in the bank. That’s a sizable edge over the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, run by former Obama campaign and White House communications adviser Bill Burton, which raised $1.6 million in April and reported having a $4.7 million war chest.

American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Karl Rove in 2010, similarly enjoys an edge over the two Democratic groups it will compete against.

On Sunday, Crossroads reported having raised a modest $1.8 million in April, with a more impressive $25.5 million in the bank. To compete with Crossroads, Democrats will rely partly on two separate super PACs, Majority PAC and House Majority PAC, which will focus on Senate and House races, respectively. While those groups only disclose their finances quarterly, and did not report any new numbers on Sunday, it’s unlikely their bank accounts compare favorably to Crossroads’. The last time they did disclose fundraising numbers, at the end of March, they held a combined $4.4 million. At the time, Crossroads had $24 million in the bank.

It’s impossible to tell just how much Democratic and Republican outside-spending groups have at their disposals. Both Priorities USA and American Crossroads involve separate-but-affiliated 501(c)4 nonprofit groups, which do not regularly disclose their finances. Under IRS restrictions, those groups must spend less than half of their money, respectively, on direct campaigning for or against political candidates.

In April, the Crossroads GPS 501(c)4 group released its tax filings, which revealed that it had raised $76.8 million since its inception and had spent $64.7 million, more than twice its super PAC counterpart had spent. The Priorities USA 501(c)4 group has not yet filed any tax returns after receiving an extension from the IRS.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr212012

Campaign Fundraising: March Financial Round-Up

Thinkstock (WASHINGTON) -- Friday was FEC filing day — that day when political campaigns and independent expenditure committees (more commonly known as Super PACs) are required to submit their financial reports for the previous month. Friday’s reports — which covered the month of March — showed that Romney and Obama had good months for fundraising, while Santorum, Gingrich and Paul had less than stellar months. For Santorum, his debt had begun to pile up by the end of March, and looking over the numbers, the logic behind his decision to drop out of the race in mid-April is reinforced.

On the Super PAC end, the group supporting Romney — Restore Our Future — continued to pull in big donations, while Priorities USA, the group supporting Obama, continues to see slightly anemic numbers. Gingrich’s Super PAC continues to be financed almost exclusively by the family of Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate, and Karl Rove’s Crossroads is king where fundraising is concerned.

Below are the top line fundraising numbers for each of the respective campaigns and groups for the month of March:

ROMNEY
Raised: $12.59 million
Spent: $10.27 million
Cash on Hand: $10 million
They have no debt.
 
RESTORE OUR FUTURE (PRO-ROMNEY SUPER PAC)
Raised: $8.6 million in March.
Spent: $12.7 million
COH: $10.4 million
No debt.
 
SANTORUM
Raised: $4.9 million
Spent: $5.8 million
COH: $1.8 million
DEBT: $1.99 million
 
RED WHITE AND BLUE FUND (PRO-SANTORUM SUPER PAC)
Raised: $2.56 million
Spent: $2.68 million
COH: $262,949
No Debt
 
OBAMA FOR AMERICA
Raised: $27 million
Spent: $15.6 million
COH: $104 million
No debt.
 
OBAMA VICTORY FUND (Joint Fundraising Committee with Obama and DNC)
Raised: $18 million
Spent: $22 million
COH: $3.7 million
No debt.
 
PRIORITIES USA (PRO-OBAMA SUPER PAC)
Raised: $2.4 million
Spent: $318,254
COH: $5 million
No debt.
 
GINGRICH
Raised: $1.6 million
Spent: $2 million
COH: $1.2 million
Debt: $4.3 million
 
WINNING OUR FUTURE (PRO-GINGRICH SUPER PAC)
Raised: $5.05 million ($5 million of which was donated by Dr. Miriam Adelson, Sheldon Adelson’s wife.)
Spent: $1.5 million
COH: $5.8 million
No debt.
 
CROSSROADS (American Crossroads plus its grassroots groups, Crossroads GPS)
Raised: $49 million for January, February, March
Spent: $444,639 in March (for American Crossroads only)
COH: $24.4 million (for American Crossroads only)
No debt.
 
RON PAUL
Raised: $2.6 million — down for the third month in a row
Spent: $2.2 million
COH: $1.8 million

No debt.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr022012

Scott Brown Donates $35K to Autism Charity for Violating Anti-Super PAC Pledge

Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Hours after President Obama officially proclaimed Monday World Autism Awareness Day, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown hand-delivered a $35,545 check to the Autism Consortium in Boston.

But while the donation was coincidentally timed, Brown did not choose the charity nor did he name the amount -- his Senate election rival Elizabeth Warren did.

After an oil lobbying group ran radio ads on his behalf, Brown was required to donate half the dollar amount spent on the ads to the charity of Warren’s choice under the stipulations of a pledge the two signed banning funding or advertisements from outside groups in their Senate race.

“I am very pleased to donate this money to the Autism Consortium and help support their incredibly important work,” Brown said in a statement. “I am also pleased that we have strengthened and expanded the People’s Pledge to include issue ads.”

The ad in question, which the American Petroleum Institute ran in print and radio ads, asked voters to tell Brown not to vote on a Democratic plan to eliminate subsidies for oil and gas companies. Because it did not specifically ask people to vote for Brown, it was not explicitly covered under the People’s Pledge that Brown and Warren signed in January.

“Closing this loophole is an important step toward keeping outside groups from influencing the Massachusetts election,” Brown said.

This is the second time Brown has paid a fine because of the pledge. In March his campaign donated $1,000 to the same autism charity after the conservative group CAPE PAC ran Google ads supporting him.

Warren has not yet had to pay a fine for violating the People’s Pledge.

The two were the first national candidates to sign a pledge banning out-of-state money following the national controversy over the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which allows businesses and individual donors to give unlimited donations to super PACs, which can support political campaigns but not directly coordinate with them.

Even without the groundbreaking pact, the Massachusetts senate race is expected to be one of the most closely watched races in the country. Brown and Warren are neck-and-neck in the race, one of about a dozen contests that will determine which party takes control of the Senate in 2013.

A Boston Globe survey released Sunday showed Brown, the incumbent senator, in a statistical tie with Warren, a Harvard professor best known for her consumer advocacy work in the Obama administration.

But with more than seven months until the election, the survey found that a quarter of Massachusetts voters are still undecided.

Both candidates have high favorability ratings on their own, but when respondents were asked which candidate was more likable, Brown blew Warren out of the water. Nearly 60 percent of voters said Brown was more likable than Warren, compared to the 27 percent that chose Warren as the most likable.

The Warren campaign blamed this likability deficit on the candidate’s lagging name recognition. According to a December University of Massachusetts Lowell/Boston Herald poll, nearly a quarter of Massachusetts voters said they had never heard of Warren.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar132012

Seven in 10 Americans Would Send Super PACs Packing, Poll Finds

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Super PACs are unwelcome guests at the 2012 election party: Seven in 10 Americans say these private, campaign-spending organizations should be illegal, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.

Echoing widespread disapproval of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that authorized super PACs in 2010, a bipartisan 69 percent would ban them now.  More than half -- 52 percent -- feel strongly to get rid of super PACs.

Exercising what the high court characterized as free speech, these privately run political action committees can raise unlimited money from individuals, corporations and unions.  They’re estimated to have spent $75 million to date on the 2012 election cycle, including nearly $70 million on the presidential contest -- more than the candidates’ campaigns themselves.

Seventy-eight percent of independents and 70 percent of Democrats favor outlawing super PACs; fewer Republicans but a majority -- 55 percent -- agree.  Banning these committees likewise is supported by 60, 70 and 82 percent of conservatives, moderates and liberals, respectively.

This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that even among supporters of the Tea Party political movement -- skeptics of government regulation in general -- 69 percent say super PACs should be illegal, including 59 percent of “strong” Tea Party supporters.

Support for allowing super PACs to operate legally, while not high, peaks at 36 percent among Republicans, 34 percent among people with household incomes more than $100,000 and 34 percent among young adults, age 18 to 29.

Views overall, as noted, are consistent with those on the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way for these super PACs by removing restrictions on political spending by corporations.  Eighty percent in an ABC/Post poll at the time opposed the ruling, and 72 percent said they’d favor legislative efforts to reinstate campaign spending limits the court had lifted. 

The court may potentially revisit the issue via a new dispute over a Montana campaign finance law.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb242012

To Bill Maher, Super PACs Are the Designated Hitters

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(WASHINGTON) -- Self-described pot-smoking atheist funny person Bill Maher just gave $1 million to President Obama’s Super PAC to inspire other rich liberals to do the same, and he has no regrets.

But he does have a lot less money now.

“It hurts my bank account,” Maher told ABC News.

Maher announced his giant check of a contribution to Priorities USA Action at the end of a comedy show that was streamed on Yahoo! last night.

The Super PAC started by Obama’s former White House aides had a rough January. While the Super PACs supporting Republican candidates reported raising millions of dollars, Priorities USA Action scraped in just $59,000.

Part of the reason for the pathetic showing is that Democrats are less interested in embracing the technically independent political groups that Obama once derided after the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision birthed them. Obama recently reversed his position and is sending his cabinet secretaries to fundraising events for the super PAC, not breaking any laws but drawing a clear connection between PAC and candidate.

Maher said he can still sleep soundly because PACs are following the rules of the game -- even if Obama might want the rules changed.

“My analogy is like, I’m against a designated hitter, but if I was the National League manager in the World Series, I wouldn’t not use the designated hitter because I would wait until they changed the rule about the designated hitter,” he said. “As long as we’re playing the game as it’s written.”

Now Maher, an outspoken liberal who uses his HBO platform to spread laughs and Democratic talking points, has inducted himself into an elite club of rich people trying to influence the election. It includes Mitt Romney backers John Paulson, Edward Conard, Paul Singer and Bob Perry; Rick Santorum benefactor Foster Friess; Obama fan Jeffrey Katzenberg; and of course Newt Gingrich’s bankroller, billionaire casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson.

Maher has donated to political campaigns before, including contributions to Al Franken and Obama, but never anything close to $1 million.

“Hey, rich liberals,” he said. “If I can do this, there’s a lot of people who can do it even easier.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb212012

January Fundraising: Campaigns and Super PACs, Side by Side

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- And the winner of January’s presidential campaign fundraising contest is: President Obama, whose campaign took in $11.83 million last month.

The pro-Newt-Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future took a close second. With a combined $10 million given on Jan. 24 by billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, the group raised more than any other GOP presidential super PAC or campaign in the month of January. Without the Adelsons’ donations, Winning Our Future would have lagged far behind its competitors: The Adelsons’ contributions accounted for all but $1.03 million of the group’s January haul.

The January finance totals, filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday’s deadline, provide a snapshot of where the campaigns were three weeks ago, just after Mitt Romney’s victory in the Florida primary and before Rick Santorum’s wins in Colorado and Minnesota shifted the momentum of the race.

Now that we’ve moved into the election year, campaigns and super PACs will file every month -- meaning we’ll get to see their activities three times as frequently as we have so far, with quarterly disclosure deadlines in 2011.

Below are all the basic numbers disclosed Monday. The totals only cover fundraising and spending from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31.

CAMPAIGNS

Obama for America
Raised: $11.87 million
Spent: $17.67 million
Cash on hand Jan. 1: $81.76 million
Cash on hand Jan. 31: $75.95 million
Debts/obligations: $1.06 million

Rick Santorum for President
Raised: $4.51 million
Spent: $3.32 million
Cash on hand Jan. 1: $279k
Cash on hand Jan. 31: $1.47 million
Debts/obligations: $0

Romney for President Inc.
Raised: $6.54 million
Spent: $18.78 million
Cash on hand Jan. 1: $19.92 million
Cash on hand Jan. 31: $7.68 million
Debts/obligations: $0

Newt 2012
Raised: $5.59 million
Spent: $5.91 million
Cash on hand Jan. 1: $2.11 million
Cash on hand Jan. 31: $1.79 million
Debts/obligations: $1.73 million

Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee Inc.
Raised: $4.48 million
Spent: $5.23 million
Cash on hand Jan. 1: $2.4 million
Cash on hand Jan. 31: $1.65 million
Debts/obligations: $0

SUPER PACs

Pro-Obama Priorities USA Action
Raised: $59k
Spent: $258k
Cash on hand Jan. 1: $1.52 million
Cash on hand Jan. 31: $1.32 million
Debts/obligations: $0

Pro-Santorum Red White and Blue Fund
Raised: $2.09 million
Spent: $1.54 million
Cash on hand Jan. 1: $78k
Cash on hand Jan. 31: $627k
Debts/obligations: $0

Pro-Romney Restore Our Future
Raised: $6.62 million
Spent: $13.94 million
Cash on hand Jan. 1: $23.62 million
Cash on hand Jan. 31: $16.3 million
Debts/obligations: $0

Pro-Gingrich Winning Our Future
Raised: $11.03 million
Spent: $9.76 million
Cash on hand Jan. 1: $1.18 million
Cash on hand Jan. 31: $2.44
Debts/obligations: $0

Pro-Paul Endorse Liberty

Raised: $2.38 million
Spent: $2.95 million
Cash on hand Jan. 1: $628k
Cash on hand Jan. 31: $60K
Debts/obligations: $0

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb192012

McCain Concerned About Tone of GOP Campaign

Joe Raedle/Getty(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain  on Sunday expressed deep concern over the tone of the campaign for the GOP presidential nomination on This Week, admitting that it may actually be helping President Obama in his bid to be re-elected in the fall.

“I am concerned about that,” said McCain, speaking from Afghanistan. “And I think there is reason to be concerned about it…I don’t think I have seen one that was as personal and as characterized  by so many attacks as these are.”

McCain, R-Ariz., blamed the plethora of negative attack advertisements on super PACs which, following a ruling by the U. S. Supreme Court, can receive unlimited donations that can be used for attack advertisements.

McCain blamed the Court’s “ignorance” for the new power super PACs now possess.

“I think it’s a very tough campaign and I understand that, but the fact is that these debates and these kinds of negative campaigns have driven the disapproval ratings of all of the members up.”

McCain is supporting his 2008 rival Mitt Romney in his bid for the White House and said he is confident that the former governor of Massachusetts “will succeed.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb182012

Presidential Campaigns and the Super PACs

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Want to run for office? Try test-driving a super PAC.

They're the muscle behind this year's presidential campaigns, although they're legally barred from coordinating with them. But any serious candidate must have a friendly super PAC to secretly raise untold sums from rich benefactors.

It's a role that could evolve in years to come, say political insiders. Don't be surprised if the seeds of a 2016 presidential campaign start with an innocuously named super PAC in 2012. It's not clear how the campaign of the future will begin, but it's a good bet that the country's Frankenstein Federal Election Commission campaign laws will involve a super PAC.

Johnson Associates, a compensation consulting firm, forecasts a significant decline in incentive compensation for major investment and commercial banking firms. The big banks typically disclose compensation information in their fourth quarter earnings results.

Call it the new exploratory committee. Whereas candidates at the local and federal level have traditionally had to work their way up the ranks of their party to earn enough support for a bid for office, super PAC -- the campaign cash havens that can raise and spend as much money as they want for anything at all -- are being seen by at least some potential candidates as a shortcut. The idea, according to political consultants around the country, is that if potential candidates were to raise enough money to help another candidate get elected in 2012, that candidate and other influential members in the party would repay the favor later on.

Those who have spoken with people who have expressed interest in starting their own super PACs for this reason are cautious about giving away names, but a few consultants did confirm that the idea is gaining traction. Then again, the whole idea is to remain somewhat unknown for the time being.

Spencer Kimball, a Republican consultant in Boston, described "rumblings" and "casual conversation" among potential candidates and investors in the private equity and hedge fund worlds. He said one former candidate who ran for federal office in Massachusetts was considering it.

"There are people that I can tell you who are looking to create coalitions," Kimball said, adding that they've thought of using super PACs as a "hub" for their support. "Then they can come and take credit for it as well."

Bill O'Reilly, a GOP consultant in New York (not the Fox News host), said he has "clients and former clients who are right now talking about" starting super PACs for the same reason. The PACs, he said, could replace the public affairs committee as a means to become a political force.

"Now you can do that while raising substantial money," he said. "You want to stay relevant. ... A super PAC is a great way to do it because ... previous donors can give to you."

Several political analysts drew comparisons with the way a leadership PAC works in Congress, in which lawmakers flaunt their power through fundraising rather than passing bills. Leadership PACs essentially operate as debit accounts for lawmakers who need to impress donors to raise money; their goal is to spend money to support other candidates' campaigns under the assumption that the favor will be returned if necessary.

Robert Maguire, a PAC researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, said he wasn't surprised to learn that super PACs could be used in more creative ways to benefit their creators in the long term.

"I start a super PAC in 2012 to show that I can raise money and dole it out not necessarily in the form of contributions but in the form of mailers ... phone calls, ads, things like that," he said. "It's like a shadow leadership PAC."

"It's not about rising up in the ranks of the Republican or Democratic Party," he added. "It's about gaining awareness among people that you know you want to notice you."

To many political observers, the rising power of the super PAC is a signal that money has corrupted the political process on a new level. Every presidential candidate has at least one super Pac raising millions of dollars for them, and their donors are kept secret until rare filing dates.

Even President Obama, who after the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling crusaded against the changing campaign finance law, recently bowed to reality and announced he would ship out his cabinet secretaries to raise money at events hosted by the super PAC supporting him (which was started by two of his former White House aides).

"I'm finding that people who believe they're going to run for a higher office in the next election cycle start spending huge sums of money either through their own campaigns or through IEs," said Allan Hoffenblum, a political consultant in Los Angeles, referring to the acronym for "independent expenditures," the super PAC equivalent in California.

Former GOP candidate Jay Townsend, who blames a cash disparity for his loss to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2010, predicted that super PAC spending in congressional races will have significant impacts because it takes less money to make a difference with fewer voters. That kind of effect could make the forces behind those PACs recognizable to party leaders.

"If someone had been able to write me a check for 5 or 10 million dollars, we would have had a competitive race and a serious dialogue in New York," he said. "Water runs downhill, and money has found its way into the political process, and every time you try to stop the water from going a certain direction, it will still find its way downhill eventually."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio