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Super Connected

Super PACs’ Devotion to Individual Candidates Undercuts Assumption in Citizens United That Outside Spending Would Be “Independent”

October 24, 2012 — The Supreme Court’s chief rationale in its decision to permit unlimited corporate spending to influence elections in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was its judgment that third-party expenditures do not threaten to cause corruption because they are independent. But many of the “Super PACs,” which have arisen in the wake of Citizens United and are allowed to accept unlimited contributions, cannot plausibly be deemed independent. Public Citizen’s analysis shows that 60 percent of Super PACs active in this election cycle (through Oct. 16) are devoted to supporting or defeating a single candidate, and many of these single-candidate Super PACs are founded, funded and/or managed by friends and political allies of the candidate they support.

The close relationships between these Super PACs and the candidates they seek to assist indicates that contributions to single-candidate Super PACs are virtually the same as contributions to candidates themselves.The Super PACs' activities are making a mockery of campaign finance laws that limit the size of contributions directly to candidates.

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