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Friday, June 24, 2011

Super PAC News

Dan Eggen and Chris Cillizza write in The Washington Post:

A group of prominent Mitt Romney backers has quietly started a “super PAC” to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in support of his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, according to organizers and others involved in the effort.

Restore Our Future PAC, spearheaded by several former Romney aides, is the latest in an expanding list of groups that have formed to take advantage of court rulings that allow corporations, unions and tycoons to spend millions on elections without restrictions.

The development provides further evidence that Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is shaping up as the candidate to beat in the GOP money race, and underscores the extensive role that well-funded outside groups are likely to play in the 2012 election. Restore Our Future PAC appears to be the first super PAC to form specifically in favor of one of the presidential contenders.

The group aims to go head-to-head with Priorities USA Action, a similar super PAC led by former White House aides in support of President Obama. But Restore Our Future PAC could be used to go after other Republicans if necessary in the party’s primary season, those familiar with the operation said.

The Christian Science Monitor's Dave Cook reports:

Supporters of Mitt Romney, the front-runner in the Republican presidential field, have launched a “super PAC” to raise money to promote his candidacy, even as leaders of American Crossroads, the biggest of the Republican super PACs, promised Friday to remain neutral during the primary season.

That signals that American Crossroads intends to save most of its fire for the general election, when the GOP nominee will be up against a well-funded President Obama, and will not choose a horse in the GOP nominating race.

The wrinkle in that scenario is that the new pro-Romney PAC and American Crossroads share a key executive – an overlap that had reporters closely questioning the Crossroads leaders about the neutrality assertion when they appeared Friday at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast gathering.


Reporters asked Mr. Duncan and Steven Law, the group’s president and CEO, pointed questions about American Crossroads' neutrality. The Washington Post story about the pro-Romney super PAC noted that its board of directors includes political operative Carl Forti, who was political director for Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign. Mr. Forti is now political director of American Crossroads.

“Carl is a contract employee with American Crossroads. He has other clients; we knew he had other clients. But clearly none of us are going to be involved personally in presidential campaigns. And he is not either,” Duncan said.

At The Washington Post, Philip Rucker has more detail on the breakfast session:

American Crossroads, the massive political action committee that helped propel Republicans into the House majority last fall, is planning to spend $120 million on a 2012 election cycle it is casting as a “David and Goliath” struggle between well-funded Democrats and underfunded Republicans.

The group’s chairman, Mike Duncan, told reporters Friday morning that 2012 would be the most expensive campaign cycle in history. He said that the so-called “super PAC” would go after President Obama early and often, perhaps attacking the incumbent on television before Republicans have settled on their nominee.

We’re going to have $2 billion spent in the suspension of reality,” Duncan said, suggesting that Obama’s reelection campaign would raise $1 billion while the president’s allies on the left would spend hundreds of millions more.

Duncan said the campaign would be a “David and Goliath” struggle, adding that, although his group is budgeting $120 million for its efforts in the presidential race as well as congressional contests, “we will probably be outspent.”

Danny Yadron writes at The Wall Street Journal:

Jerry Perenchio, the former chairman of the Spanish-language television network Univision, cut American Crossroads a $2 million check this spring, according the Republican outside group’s latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Mr. Perenchio is by far Crossroads’ largest disclosed donor for the first half of 2011, during which it raised $3.8 million. Its sister group, Crossroads GPS, does not have to disclose its donors. Mr. Perenchio is one of the biggest political donors, giving mostly, but not exclusively, to Republicans.

Texas home builder Bob Perry, who gave Crossroads $7 million last fall, chipped in $500,000. Others from the Lone Star State accounted for $1.2 million.