For those of you who are disturbed by the extraordinary influence of money being dumped into the election process by special interest groups and other unknown parties, a new tool is now available as a ProPublica project. ProPublica published a new page under their Tolls & Data tab called PAC Track. Their new tool has three tabs. The first tab tracks total PAC spending throughout the Primary Calendar. The Second tab tracks the latest spending by day to payee. The final tab tracks top contributors to various PACs by Name, PAC and Amount.
“Two federal court rulings in 2010 paved the way for the ascent of “super PACs,” political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political races, as long as they don’t coordinate with a specific candidate. And so far, they’re spending heavily on the Republican race. This app, part of our long-term investigation into “dark money,” keeps track of where super PACs are spending their cash to influence the presidential race. — Al Shaw & Kim Barker”
There have actually been three rulings, two by federal courts and one by the Supreme Court:
- September 2009: EMILY’s List v. Federal Election Commission which struck down FEC regulations and allowed EMILY’s list (and other groups) to spend money on campaign-related activities backing female Democratic candidates.
- January 2010: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in which the Court said corporations, unions could pend unlimited monies to support or criticize specific candidates, essentially equating money as speech.
- March 2010: SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission. The appeals court in this decision drew upon the Citizens United ruling to make it possible for SuperPACS to “independently” collect and spend unlimited amounts of monies to support or criticize candidates.
Please take the time to look at the obscene amounts of money being donated by single donors in an attempt to buy the candidate of their dreams. It’s already started in Nevada as Restore Our Future, Inc. and Winning Our Future have begun polluting our air waves with $81,566 worth of propaganda for and against Newt Gingrich. Seeing how this is progressing throughout the Republican primary process …. it kinda makes you think of turning the main stream media off this fall, dusting off and watching/re-watching some of your favorite selections in your video collection, or better yet, reading a book or two or three.
I’ve included a link in the right hand side panel in the “info & reference” section to make it easy for you to reference contributions and spending as this campaign season progresses.