The GOP Super PACs Have Taken Over the Campaign

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GOP fundraisers have created a monster. Or better yet, an army of monsters. The super PACs assembled to support the GOP presidential candidates have become more powerful and more self-sufficient than the candidates' own campaigns. In January, the super PACs supporting the top four candidates raised $22.1 million more and kept $5 million more cash on hand than the candidates themselves. Here's how the super PACs have over-shadowed each campaign, according to financial data filed Monday.

Mitt Romney Perhaps benefitting the most from his super PAC, Romney is more dependent on the Restore Our Future PAC than ever before given that his campaign has maxed out many of its donors who have given the maximum $2,500 to his campaign. According to The New York Times' Nick Confessore, about 44 percent of all Romney's contributors have reached the limit stipulated by federal law, leaving the super PAC, which can raise unlimited funds, to pickup the cash overflow. By comparison, Confessore notes: "About 5 percent of Mr. Paul’s donors, 14 percent of Mr. Gingrich’s donors and 30 percent of Mr. Santorum’s donors had maxed out, meaning that a vast majority of their contributors can continue to give more money this year."

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On the tactical front, Restore Our Future has been key to Romney's success in combatting Newt Gingrich, as the AP's Jack Gillum reports. "Romney ... has benefited greatly from the group's TV ads attacking Gingrich in particular. Such ads were purchased thanks to the financial help of repeat donors, including Marriott International Chairman J.W. Marriott Jr., who has given the super PAC $750,000 to date." The PAC is more well-off than Romney's campaign too, with $16 million cash on hand compared to Romney's $7.7 million. Downplaying the PACs role in comic book terms, Restore Our Future's Larry McCarthy told The Daily Beast “When Commissioner Gordon needed Batman, he’d flash the bat signal in the sky. So we look to the sky and if we see the bat signal, we go there.” 

Newt Gingrich It's no secret that Gingrich's campaign would be in the gutter if it weren't for the Winning Our Future super PAC, bankrolled by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife who each gave $5 millon to the organization in January. The PAC had $2.4 million cash on hand in the last filing, while Gingrich's campaign had $1.8 million. The $11 million the PAC has raised far outshines the $5.5 million Gingrich raised during the same period. 

Rick Santorum Santorum's sugar daddy Foster Friess continued dropping large sums of money into the pro-Santorum Red, White and Blue Fund, adding to a total of $2.1 million raised in January. The fund has been crucial to Santorum's success, notes Politico, boosting his "cash-strapped campaign last month, and was credited with helping him win the Iowa caucuses." It's been spending its war chest on ads, direct mail and robo-calls prior to elections in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri. "The super PAC, which has raised $2.8 million since it was formed last October, got $1 million last month from Louisiana energy executive William J. Dore, whose biggest prior federal donation on record had been $50,000 to the Republican Governors Association in 2010," reports Politico. 

Ron Paul Paul's super PAC has been greatly boosted by PayPal co-founder and billionaire Peter Thiel. "Endorse Liberty, the group supporting Texas Rep. Ron Paul, reported roughly $2.4 million in donations, including $1.7 from" Thiel, reports the AP. "Thiel, who runs a hedge fund, is a libertarian who has supported Republican causes and candidates and also has donated to California's marijuana legalization ballot measure." However, Paul's campaign seems to be comparatively less dependent on its super PAC, as it raised $4.5 million in January exceeding the amount raised by Endorse Liberty.


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.