The Washington Post has a strong front-page story today on the rise of a new kind of political action committee enabled by the Citizens United decision and FEC rulings: the Super PAC. These PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to spend on political advertising, but they can't coordinate with campaigns and are required (eventually) to reveal their donors. The biggest such group is one that has taken aim at Joe Sestak in the PA Senate race:
Among super PAC spending, more than half has come from American Crossroads, a pro-Republican group founded with the help of former George W. Bush administration adviser Karl Rove. Donations to the group include $400,000 from American Financial Group, a publicly held company, which could make the contribution because of the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That ruling lifted restrictions on corporate spending in elections.
In two days last week, American Crossroads' super PAC reported spending $2.8 million on ads attacking Democratic candidates, including Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.), Jack Conway (Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.). "Harry Reid," one ad intones, "extremely out of touch with Nevada."
The super PAC is just one part of the American Crossroads operation, which also includes a nonprofit advocacy arm called American Crossroads GPS that does not have to disclose its donors under U.S tax laws. Overall, American Crossroads says it has raised about $32 million, divided evenly between its super PAC and nonprofit arms.
"There are some donors who are interested in anonymity when it comes to advocating for specific issues," spokesman Jonathan Collegio said.