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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Romney and Super PACs

Through the 2008 campaign, PACs did not play a big role in presidential politics. In the 2004 nomination race, for instance, they gave just $3.5 million, compared with $611.4 million from individuals. But the emergence of the Super PAC is changing the picture. The Boston Globe reports:

Former aides to Mitt Romney have formed a series of campaign committees that can accept unlimited financial contributions, making him the most visible GOP presidential candidate thus far to reap the potential benefits of looser fund-raising rules.

At least four independent “super PACs’’ are being run by the aides, and one that is openly backing him has already amassed $12 million this year, which is two-thirds the amount Romney has raised for his candidate campaign account. Unlike Romney’s own account, however, which must be painstakingly filled within the confines of individual donation limits, these outside committees are unfettered by such caps.
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Restore Our Future PAC, which is being run by three former Romney aides, announced on Tuesday that it had raised $12 million during the first six months of this year. The group has not yet filed its detailed report with the government, which is due by Friday, so it is not yet clear where the contributions are coming from.

The group’s leadership includes Carl Forti, who in 2008 was Romney’s national political director and has since been political director of American Crossroads, a separate PAC set up by several prominent Republicans; Larry McCarthy, who was part of Romney’s media team in 2008; and Charles Spies, who was the general counsel to Romney’s 2008 campaign. “The super PAC was formed to support Governor Romney and level the playing field to respond to other groups that may be attacking him,’’ Spies said in an interview. He declined to comment further.

The other three super PACs with apparent ties to Romney are Jobs for Iowa, Jobs for Florida, and Jobs for South Carolina, each formed on June 24 by former Romney aide Rob Jentgens. Jentgens was the deputy chief financial officer for Romney during the first seven months of his last presidential campaign.

At the Center for Responsive Politics, Spencer MacColl reports that 26 Super PACs have started since the 2010 midterm.