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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Special interests, SuperPACS, and the presidential candidates

photo credit: natcom.org

The OpenSecrets website lists contributors to candidates, and also tracks the SuperPACS:

Super PACs are a relatively new type of committee that arose following the July 2010 federal court decision in a case known as SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission.

Technically known as independent expenditure-only committees, super PACs may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates. Unlike traditional PACs, super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates, and their spending must not be coordinated with that of the candidates they benefit. Super PACs are required to report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or semiannual basis – the super PAC's choice – in off-years, and monthly in the year of an election.

As of February 03, 2016, 2,194 groups organized as super PACs have reported total receipts of $353,533,929 and total independent expenditures of $144,551,790 in the 2016 cycle.

Super PACs allowed the [securities and investment] industry to gain an outsize share of the pie in 2015 as Wall Street gravitated to some candidates and utterly abandoned others. With billionaire investors giving right and left, total contributions from the industry to presidential super PACs rose to $81.2 million.
. . .
Investors made up the top donor industry to six of the current candidates when their campaign committees and super PACs are combined; the exceptions were retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

All four of those candidates nevertheless benefit from SuperPACS, including those receiving Wall Street money. Recently, the securities and investment industry donors are shifting to new favorites:

Despite huge contributions to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the first six months of 2015, securities and investment firms appear to have picked their favorite candidate on the Republican side: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
. . .
despite Rubio’s rise among securities and investment types, Iowa caucus winner Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) again showed evidence he has perhaps the strongest mix of funding sources in the race. Four of the top overall industries giving money were in the top five donors to Cruz super PACs and his campaign account: securities and investment, real estate (buoyed by huge contributions from the Texan Wilks brothers), oil and gas and retired individuals.

The leading five candidates in the GOP race, as of today via Real Clear Politics, are Bush, Carson, Cruz, Rubio, and Trump. (And as most patriots know, Rick Santorum,  Rand Paul, and Mike Huckabee  just suspended their campaigns.)
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