The SuperPAC charade is getting tiresome
Jan 14, 2012

The SuperPAC charade is getting tiresome

Can we please drop this SuperPAC ruse already? It is the first election season post Citizens United and so these new political groups are allowed to collect unlimited, undisclosed amounts of money from people and corporations alike and spend it in the elections. Only there is a technical catch: they are not allowed to directly coordinate with candidates.

The result is that every candidate gets their own corresponding SuperPAC who runs attack ads for them (spending more than the candidates campaigns do themselves) and without those burdensome "I am so and so and I approve this message" that give the barest shred of accountability. But they don't, officially, coordinate with them. Because obviously having corporations allowed to spend unlimited amounts of undisclosed (until long after the election) funds to back certain candidates isn't horribly corrupt provided they do not, officially, coordinate with the candidate.

The way they sometimes get around this is by having the candidates say something to the media - not the SuperPAC - about what they want their "supporters" to do message wise and then, lo and behold, the SuperPAC goes and does that. This is what occurred in the case of Gingrich asking his SuperPAC to tone down the anti-Romney message which I wrote about here. Conveniently, the people who run the SuperPACs are all people who, conveniently, used to work for the candidates campaigns directly but now, technically, don't.

As a progressive, the SuperPAC's are anathema to me and vastly increases the power and influence of vested interests into a system that was already too close to one-dollar-one-vote than one-person-one-vote. In there short time here, we have seen how devastating they can be to candidates and how they lower the political dialogue. But in the interim, can't we just drop this charade that there is not a perfect correspondence between the candidates campaigns and their corresponding SuperPAC's? Heck, make it legal, it hardly matters. The only benefit I can see to not just officially allowing them work together (since they are doing so anyways) is getting a round of media stories about what a candidates next plan of attack is because they have to tell their SuperPAC's by way of the media, and not directly behind closed doors as they might otherwise. Such stories are beyond tiresome to me and do nothing to further a productive political discourse, they merely exacerbate the sports team conflict.

Since we can only see the (relatively smaller) amounts of money that is given directly to the campaigns and not their SuperPACs, all we get right now is to see the list of the top Romney donors which is tilted just a wee bit towards one certain industry: Wall Street financials.

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Pamela said...

The Daily Show did a bit on SuperPACs the other night that perfectly illustrated the how politicians can interact with the SuperPACs that support them and still not break the law. The bit was funny the reality it represents is not.

Elipsis said...

Jon Stewart's SuperPAC is putting out some great material on the subject, all the while totally not coordinating with Stephen Colbert.

bazie said...

Ya those two are doing an absolutely incrediably job of giving attention to the issue.

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