This election season, the term “Super PAC” has escaped from the obscure world of campaign finance lawyers to emerge on the front pages of major newspapers and political websites. Super PACs are political organizations that can take unlimited sums from individuals, corporations and labor unions to spend in support of, or opposition to, federal candidates. To do so legally, a Super PAC must avoid certain forms of coordination with candidates. The groups played a big role in Iowa, with a pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC, “Restore Our Future,” widely credited with running ads that halted Newt Gingrich’s momentum in the polls. They are expected to play an even greater role in the fall, when control of the White House, Senate and U.S. House of Representatives will be up for grabs.
Super PACs are troublesome for a number of reasons. They tend to run more negative advertising, since they are able to act as the “evil twin” of campaigns because they are not accountable to voters the way candidate committees are. Thanks to holes in our disclosure laws, which neither Congress nor the Republican commissioners on the Federal Election Commission have seen fit to fix, we don’t know who is funding many of the Super PACs.
Candidates can even raise money under certain conditions for supportive Super PACs without violating the FEC’s technical coordination rules. And thanks to clever campaign finance lawyers who can use an affiliated nonprofit 501(c)(4) group, we may never know the identity of some donors. (That’s why comedian Stephen Colbert formed his 501(c)(4) “Colbert Super PAC SHH” (as in “hush”) to funnel money to his regular “Colbert Super PAC.”) But the greatest danger of Super PACs is that they may skew the legislative process in the next Congress in favor of the interests of large Super PAC contributors.
Full Article: The biggest danger of Super PACs – CNN.com.