Like many "non-profits" that take in millions of dollars of unregulated money, the ballooning super PACs supporting this year's presidential candidates are paying some of their top executives huge salaries to spend other people's money. A look at the finances of several major super PACs by The Los Angeles Times, shows that some of the people tasked with raising money for their favored candidates are giving that money right back to themselves or companies that they control.
For example, the president of the pro-Newt Gingrich PAC Winning Our Future made $206,000 in the last three months while the managing director made $90,000 since the fund launched in December. Democratic strategist Paul Begala made $200,000 last year working for Prioriteis USA Action, though the fund raised only $59,000 last month.
Most high-powered consultants who work on major campaigns get paid a percentage of the dollars that are spent on advertising, meaning that the ability of the campaign to raise money (which is directly correlated to the success of the campaign) determines how much they earn. It also ensures that the campaign's costs stay within certain boundaries. However, the spending that is done directly by the campaign faces much tougher scrutiny; if for no other reason than that the candidate is ultimately responsible for the all the decisions that get made.