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Taking Back Elections from SuperPACs

  • by
  • February 15, 2012
  • 10:30 am
Taking Back Elections from SuperPACs

NOTE: This is a guest post from Raymond Glendening of Ruck.us.

A report released this week addressed the political topic du jour … SuperPACs. While all of the presidential candidates, from both parties, have railed against the influence of outside money in campaigns, no one seems to be doing much about it. In fact, just this week, the President announced that, even though he is ideologically opposed to “special interest” money in politics, his own SuperPAC would in fact be operational for the 2012 election.

This was trumped by GOP candidate Rick Santorum, who after winning primary beauty contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, was on stage to give his victory speech with none other than the chief contributor to his SuperPAC standing behind him. This would be funny if it weren’t so troubling. SuperPACs, by federal law, are supposed to be 100%, fully independent of any campaign or campaign agent … let alone the candidate himself. The fact that a major SuperPAC donor can stand on stage, on national television, with a candidate illuminates just how ridiculous our political system has become. It gets worse before it gets better. The report found the following:

  • This cycle, SuperPACs have raised $181M from fewer than 200 people.
  • 15 individuals have given $1M or more. Reminder, the federal limit for an individual to a candidate is supposed to be $2,500.
  • One couple has given $10M to Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign.

OK, so now on to the good. Technology is the great equalizer for the people. While individuals and SuperPACs can control the airwaves, the rise of information via the Internet levels the playing field. And within this space, there are new ways for us to engage politically.

Not only do we not need SuperPACs to get information … we no longer need parties for information and action. Parties are not inherently bad, but they are no longer necessary. Ruck.us is a platform that gives you your own, actionable political network. After telling us about which issues you are concerned about, and answering a few of our user-generated questions, we will give you a group of like minded people. You choose what is important. You act. No SuperPACS. No parties. We hope you will join us.

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Photo courtesy of Ruck.us

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26 comments

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10:38PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Wake up, haters. In 2008, the Top 10 Pac contributors included several Unions that gave over $17 Mil to Dems alone (out of $25 Mil total to both Dems and Repubs). # 9 is below, and the following little snippet is from THEIR website, VERBATIM:

9.Laborers' International Union of North America $2.55M in pac money

Do Teachers Have a Lot to Learn?
■ Between 1990 and 2010, 93 percent of donations made by National Education Association political action committees and individual officers went to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.org. According to the NEA's own "Status of the American Public School Teacher 2005-2006," (latest available data produced March 2010) only 41 percent of public school teachers are Democrats. A Wall Street Journal editorial revealed that the National Education Association -- the nation's largest teachers union -- "is spending the mandatory dues paid by members who are told their money will be used to gain better wages, benefits and working conditions. According to the latest filing, member dues accounted for $295 million of the NEA's $341 million in total receipts last year. But the union spent $25 million of that on 'political activities and lobbying' and another $65.5 million on 'contributions, gifts and grants' that seemed designed to further those hyper-liberal political goals."

■ The Journal added that the NEA's financial disclosure forms "expose the union as a honey pot for left-wing political causes that have nothing to do wit

6:49PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Obama's use of the superpac is simply fighting fire with fire. He's a man with a long view of goals that no rethuglican pig wants to see him achieve. (Heaven forbid a black man achieve anything positive besides the invention of peanut butter!... I'm sorry to burst y'alls bubble... but if I recall correctly wasn't Jesus himself not quite white?... yeah that's what I thought)... anyway, since it's currently legal to use superpacs Obama had damned well better be using one!

(course the way the rethuglican wrong wingers are cannibalizing each other... well that just beats out Jersey Shore for entertainment value! OR is it the Real Housewives of Orange County? I can't keep 'em straight.)

3:45PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

FIGHT SUPERPACS, VOTE DEMOCRAT, OBAMA NEEDS ONE TOO, HE WOULD NOT IF VOTERS WERE NOT SO EASY FOOLED BY GOP/TEAPARTY LIES. GOP/TEAPARTY NOT WANTING TO SUPPORT BILL OR ANY THING BECAUSE IT WOULD "HELP TOO MANY PEOPLE MOSTLY WOMEN"!!!!. IF THEY WIN PEOPLE WILL DIE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE IMMUNE IF YOU ARE REPUBLICIAN/TEAPARTY???, YOU ARE SADLY FOOLED,UNLESS YOU ARE RICH/CORPS. THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU EVEN IF YOU ARE "ONE OF THEM" !!!!. DIANA

12:52PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

The Supreme Court "elected" George W. Bush and has given free reign to the Super Pacs. I don't think the founding fathers had any of this in mind when they penned the consttution !

12:29PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Why don't the SuperPac's just put that money towards paying down the National Debt.

11:45AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Super Pac's are destroying our democracy our fore father's are rolling in their graves as we speak. The only good thing that will come out of Super Pac's is their will be Republicans spending time in jail. Give them a mile and they will take a million. They have shown in the past that they can't live by rules.

11:29AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Tune in next week when the "Yes Men" will poke fun at the corporate elite!

11:10AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

The way to win is to make fun of them, the self-aggrandising buffoons that they are. This would be a good idea of a plot for an episode of: "The Yes Men!".

10:54AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Personally, I'd like to see these SuperPacs spend at least $15Billion only to see

Stephen Colbert win by a write-in vote.

LOL!

I thought the way to beat the SuperPacs was to vote Progressive. And make sure everyone you know does to.

9:39AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

It is truly a sad day when a super PAC can do what they do and not be held accountable for lies and disinformation.
They should be held to the same, or better yet, higher, standards that any other product is held to when advertised.

The smart money would be to have an anti-super PAC super PAC that would do only one thing; SUE every Super PAC that presents false information, under the truth in advertising laws.
Technically, they are advertising, so if a corporation can be a person, then a politician can be a product and the advertising for them, even by a PAC or super PAC, should be held stringently accountable to truth in advertising laws.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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