Buried near the end of an article in the NY Times on Super PACs is an interesting fact.
Super PACs, created after the Supreme Court ruled that money was protected speech, are like regular Political Action Committees (PACs), with one big exception — they are able to raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash on political campaigns. And while Super PACs are supposedly required to be firewalled from the candidates themselves, the line between them is blurry indeed. When Romney appeared at a fundraiser for Restore Our Future (a Super PAC whose sole purpose is to get Romney elected), this line consisted of them waiting until Romney left the room before asking for any money.
But according to the NY Times, a study by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that more than 80 percent of the money raised by Republican-leaning Super PACs this year came from just 35 donors. Yes, that means that just 35 organizations or people control the vast majority of money going into Republican election campaigns.
Interestingly, Democratic-leaning Super PACs are even worse, with more than 80 percent of contributions coming from just 23 donors. But this may be due to the fact that liberal Super PACs raised less than half as much money as conservative ones (Restore Our Future all by itself raised 60% more money than all liberal Super PACs put together).
As one political operative put it “People are just starting to get it. It’s completely unlimited. And it’s going to change everything.”
What I want to know is, what are these 58 donors buying for all this money?