Here is the only good news about the super PACs flooding the 2012 presidential race with negative ads funded by huge contributions from the super rich: These vehicles for corruption can be eliminated. Congress can pass legislation to end these candidate-specific super PACs that is well within the bounds of Citizens United. The Supreme Court’s decision in the 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission paved the way for the creation of super PACs — federally registered political action committees that raise unlimited contributions and use these funds to make expenditures in federal elections. To legally spend these funds, the court said, outside groups must operate independently of the candidates they are supporting. The 2012 presidential campaign has brought us a particularly virulent form of these groups: the candidate-specific super PAC. If not made illegal, they will spread to congressional races as well.
These super PACs function as arms of the presidential campaigns. They are run by former close political associates of the candidate and raise and spend unlimited contributions to support only that candidate. Campaign aides and political associates of the candidate — sometimes the candidate himself — appear at events held to raise contributions for the super PAC.
It is clear to those giving six and seven figures to a super PAC that supports a presidential candidate, as well as to the candidate, that the contributions directly benefit that candidate just as if the contributions were being given directly to the candidate. Contributions to the candidate, however, are limited to $2,500 per election.