Super PACs blow-up: The Mitt Romney supporting Restore Our Future, the first candidate super PAC on the scene, is the first to make a real splash with an unprecedented assault on Romney's closest competitor, Newt Gingrich. In the past ten days the group has dropped $2.51 million in television ads and direct mail on Gingrich, rapidly sinking the former Speaker's brief front-runner status.
Amidst this advertising onslaught on his opponent Romney went on "Morning Joe" and announced that he wants to "get rid of all these super PACs." This comes after a year of welcoming outside support from the super PAC. Romney even appeared at a donor event for the group in New York. Romney's aides have also issued numerous contradictory statements announcing both support, opposition, and indifference to the super PAC.
Donors to the super PAC have also played a big role raising money for Romney's campaign. Restore Our Future is funded largely by Wall Street donors, some of whom are part of Romney's finance team or have chaired fundraisers for the candidate across the country.
In his "Morning Joe" appearance Romney refused to tell the super PAC to stop running negative ads stating, "I'm not allowed to communicate with the super PAC in any way, shape or form." [HuffPost]
Gingrich responded late Thursday with comments questioning the independence of super PACs: "His comments today are palpably misleading, clearly false, and are politics in its worst form ... For him to say he couldn't find the people who gave that money, and he couldn't get them to put pressure on the PACs to be reasonable is just purely dishonest." Gingrich notes that there is no law preventing Romney from publicly calling for the group to cease airing ads.
Fundrace says: Despite Restore Our Future's alleged independence from the Romney campaign the group very well may help deliver the GOP nomination to him. By nuking Gingrich, the group is solidifying its place as central to the Romney campaign. It has been funded through massive contributions by powerful people who also play a role in raising money for Romney's campaign. This raises questions about the influence a $1 million contribution to a super PAC could have on a candidate that the Supreme Court thought they had avoided by simply stating that groups spending independent expenditures would be truly independent.
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Despite bans on raising money from lobbyists at the Obama campaign and the DNC, the other Democratic party committees are more than happy to accept lobbyist contributions. [WashTimes]
A former top aide to Newt Gingrich is joining the super PAC, Winning Our Future, set to launch a major advertising blitz in support of the candidate. [NYT]
That super PAC is expected to be infused by millions from casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, but he has his own baggage that would come along with the money. [iWatch]
The Obama campaign today registered a joint fundraising committee for donors to give to efforts in specific swing states. The states listed in the committee are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The committee will send contributions to the Obama reelection committee and the swing state Democratic Party committee of the donor's choosing.
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Committee: Restore Our Future
Candidate opposed: Newt Gingrich
Spot: "Happy" -- In its second ad blasting Newt Gingrich the pro-Romney super PAC unloads with more hits on Newt's money from Freddie Mac, his work with Nancy Pelosi, and, in an odd twist, his support for a bill that funded a UN program that supported China's "one child" policy. The ad quotes from a National Review article labeling Newt, "weak," "half-baked," and "not especially conservative."
Buy: Part of a $2 million+ ad buy.
Committee: Rick Perry for President
Candidate opposed: Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney
Spot: "Three Streets" -- Perry's campaign asks whether voters want a candidate from Wall Street (Romney), K Street (Gingrich), or Main Street (Perry). The ad hits Romney for "buying companies and firing workers" and Gingrich for taking money from Freddie Mac.
Committee: Newt Gingrich for President
Spot: "Newt and Callista Gingrich Christmas Greetings" -- In contrast to the negative ads running across Iowa against Gingrich, his campaign is set to run this ad of Newt and his wife wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. It's a nice thought, but those blistering ads from Romney's super PAC aren't going to come down due to Christmas cheer.
TRACKING INDEPENDENT SPENDING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:
These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate for the presidency in 2012. Fundrace will update this spending daily to help show which candidates are gaining from the proliferation of independent groups in this coming election.
Newt Gingrich (R), $0 to support, $2,513,978 to oppose. (+$104,725)
Rick Perry (R), $2,429,484 to support, $0 to oppose. (+$452,426)
Jon Huntsman (R), $1,864,956 to support, $0 to oppose.
Herman Cain (R), $462,217 to support, $0 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $0 to support, $357,929 to oppose.
Mitt Romney (R), $0 to support, $329,473 to oppose.
Rick Santorum (R), $200,950 to support, $0 to oppose. (+450)
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.
correction: Previous Gingrich numbers did not reflect the full total spent to oppose. This has now been corrected.
RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES
Restore Our Future, $104,725 to oppose Newt Gingrich for President.
Make Us Great Again, $452,426 to support Rick Perry for President.
Red White And Blue Fund, $450 to support Rick Santorum for President.
RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS
Gregory Industries PAC, Canton, Ohio, Treasurer: Joseph Weaver.
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