Super PACs’ Devotion to Individual Candidates UndercutsAssumption in Citizens United ThatOutside Spending Would Be “Independent”
October 24, 2012 - The SupremeCourt’s chief rationale in its decision to permitunlimited corporate spending to influence elections in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commissionwas its judgment that third-party expenditures do notthreaten to cause corruption because they are independent. But many of the “Super PACs,” which have arisen in the wake of CitizensUnited and are allowed to accept unlimited contributions, cannot plausibly bedeemed independent. Public Citizen’s analysis shows that 60 percent ofSuper PACs active in this election cycle (through Oct. 16) are devoted to supportingor defeating a single candidate, and many of these single-candidate SuperPACs are founded, funded and/or managed by friends and political allies of thecandidate they support.
The close relationships between these Super PACsand the candidates they seek to assist indicates that contributions to single-candidateSuper 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.