A new way to buy real influence
By: Anna Palmer and Jim VandeHei
October 24, 2011 04:37 AM EDT
Good news for rich people, corporate power players and labor bosses who want to buy some real influence with members of Congress: It just got a lot easier.
Many voters assume it’s always been easy to buy influence with lawmakers: Send a few contributions their way and suddenly, you get special treatment.
But the fact is, that’s pretty rare. Up until recently, individuals could give a couple thousand bucks to candidates or $5,000 to political action committees each election, while companies and labor unions could give $5,000 — but only through their PACs. For members raising millions of dollars each election cycle, it’s usually not enough to buy influence.
Now, meet the super PAC, which allows for super giving: unlimited amounts, some that can be delivered in secret. Operatives from both parties have aligned these new groups with nonprofits that allow big checks to be taken in and then spent on any campaign in secret.
So now, if you want to get the attention of a member of Congress, you can kick in major dollars to one of these super PACs — and people who follow money in politics worry that’s when bad things can happen. A single, secret $1 million check — which could become common in the world of super PACs — can really get someone’s attention, especially if they’re a member of Congress on the fundraising treadmill.
Read the full story here: Politico
- Super PACs make influence easier (politico.com)
- Election 101: Five basics about ‘super PACs’ and 2012 campaign money (csmonitor.com)
- Colbert Super PAC, Citizens United, and Silly Election Laws (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Campaigns Are So 2008. Why Super PACs Will Rule the 2012 Election (swampland.time.com)