August 7, 2012
Super PAC ads aren't just annoying...they make a lot of money for stations.

Political Advertisements Advance The Media’s Profits

Industry analysts are predicting that upwards of $3 billion will be spent on political advertisements in the 2012 election. This is an increase of more than $500 million from 2008. But who will benefit the most from this cash infusion? Not President Obama. Not even Mitt Romney. Rather, the National Association of Broadcasters, a lobbying group that proclaims itself “the voice for the nation’s radio and television broadcasters.”

A new FCC rule could provide the public with real-time data about who is profiting from the vast Super PAC spending. The commission ruled in April that affiliates of CBS, NBC, ABC, …

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August 2, 2012

‘Persistence Matters, Public Engagement Matters’: House Democrats Dare To Reform Campaign Finance System

Yesterday, House Democrats held a press conference outside of the capitol building along with Public Campaign, a campaign finance reform group. Their goal was to issue a D.A.R.E to Congressional Republicans encouraging them to act on campaign finance reform.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. James Clyburn, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen all joined Public Campaign in calling for a constitutional amendment overturning the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United.

D.A.R.E is intended to highlight key areas that need to be addressed when trying to ameliorate the U.S. campaign finance system: disclosing donors, amending the constitution, reforming campaign finance …

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July 3, 2012

It’s Not Just Super PACs: 91% Of Independent Election Ads Have Come From Groups That Don’t Disclose Donors

As the election approaches, the public has been inundated by millions of dollars of television commercials intended to sway them one way or another in the upcoming races. While much of the media focus has been on Super PACs — new entities formed after the Citizens United decision — it’s important to remember two things about these. First, they do actually have to eventually disclose their donors. Second, they make up only a minority of the electoral spending so far.

As Chris Hayes covered on his show this Up! With Chris Hayes this past weekend, only 5 percent of electoral ad spending …

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June 15, 2012

John McCain: Is Romney’s Super PAC Funded With “Foreign Money”?

Maverick, indeed. Despite being a prominent Mitt Romney surrogate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) criticized one of the Republican presidential contender’s super PAC sugar daddies and questioned whether the millions of dollars Adelson is spending on the election is considered “foreign money.”

Yesterday, he told PBS’s News Hour:

“Much of Mr. Adelson’s casino profits that go to him come from his casino in Macau, which says that obviously, maybe in a roundabout way foreign money is coming into an American political campaign… That is a great deal of money, and we need a level playing field and we need to go back to …

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March 15, 2012
Amount of outside spending on U.S. elections. Graph via Slate.

GRAPH: The Long Shadow of the Super PAC

The rise of the super PAC has been one of the defining trends of the 2012 election. These non-campaign organizations which, thanks in part to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, can raise and spend unlimited amounts influencing elections have had a staggering impact on how candidates and campaigns get their messages to voters. Case in point, new analysis from election law scholar Rick Hasen in Slate.

Hasen plotted the growth spending on elections over time by outside groups, which before 2010, meant mainly “527 organizations” – advocacy groups, whose name comes from part of the tax code, …

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March 13, 2012
Graph via The Washington Post

69 Percent of Americans Agree: Super PACs Should Be Illegal

With 91 percent of campaign ads in Mississippi and Alabama in the past month funded by super PACs, Americans have one thing to say to these political spending monsters: Get off my TV.

A new poll finds that the majority of all Americans and registered voters alike say super PACs, the non-campaign organizations that can raise and spend unlimited amounts influencing elections, should be illegal. Not only did 69 percent of those polled say that super PACs should be illegal, 78 percent of independents agreed, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll:

The widespread disgust directed toward …

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February 28, 2012

Super PAC Slow Jam

Last night on his show, Jimmy Fallon was joined by Brian Williams and the Roots to slow jam on President Obama’s decision to embrace super PACs. He sang:

“Aww yeah, sounds like the president goes both ways on this issue. I ain’t mad. There ain’t nothing wrong with a campaign getting an insertion of backdoor cash. But be careful. When corporations pay for favors they expect you to put out — policies that they like. Nasty.”

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February 22, 2012

Colbert: Obama Using Super PACs to Win Like Lincoln Using Slaves to Win The Civil War

Comedy Central fake news host Stephen Colbert’s best contribution to the Election 2012 coverage so far has been his hilarious and incredibly illuminating takedown of the super PAC: Colbert has started a super PAC, employed a former Federal Elections Commission (FEC) chairman as his lawyer, and even transferred control of his super PAC to Jon Stewart in the interest of “non-coordination” when he tried to run for president of the United States of South Carolina.

Last night, Colbert updated his audience on his super PAC work, first denouncing a fake attack by House Minority Leader …Continue Reading »