Super PACs spent hedge-fund dollars on midterm elections

The Washington Post reminds us that

The Supreme Court’s ruling this year in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission found that corporations, unions and nonprofit groups could spend unlimited money on advertising directly attacking or supporting candidates. In a separate decision, a federal court in the District removed limits on contributions to those groups.

and reports on some of the emerging consequences:

To take advantage of the loosened regulations, political activists created super PACs, which are allowed to accept any kind of contribution as long as they disclose their donors and do not coordinate with candidates.

Super PACs were favorites with hedge-fund managers and their ilk:

The newly created independent political groups … , which raised and spent millions of dollars on last month’s elections, drew much of their funding from private-equity partners and others in the financial industry, according to new financial disclosure reports.

The 72 super PACs, all formed this year, together spent $83.7 million on the election. The figures provide the best indication yet of the impact of recent Supreme Court decisions that opened the door for wealthy individuals and corporations to give unlimited contributions.

Nor were super PACs the only problem:

Super PACs represent only one portion of the spending spurred by the court’s decision. Nonprofit groups that are not required to disclose their donors also spent heavily on the election.

As Coffee Party Austin is gearing up to tackle the political influence of money, the problem is getting rapidly worse.  Optimists will expect this to galvanize public support for our cause, while pessimists will doubt that we can ever catch up.

About Hamilton Richards

He retired in 2006 as a Senior Lecturer in Computer Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. These days he volunteers technical support for Citizens' Climate Lobby (Austin chapter), Common Ground for Texans, (, Integrity Texas (, Austin Rowing Club, and several friends.
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