Pro-Romney group leads 2012 super PAC spending blitz
January 17th, 2012
12:59 PM ET
6 years ago

Pro-Romney group leads 2012 super PAC spending blitz

(CNN) - Super PACs, the vehicle of choice for outside group spending in the 2012 presidential election, so far have spent at least $6 million on the upcoming South Carolina Republican presidential primary and more than $26 million overall in an effort to influence the outcome of the race for the White House, according to federal campaign records.

So-called super PACs, which were created following a pair of federal court decisions in 2010, are permitted to receive unlimited campaign contributions from corporations, labor unions, and wealthy individual donors. Traditional federal political action committees and candidate campaign committees may only receive limited contributions from individuals, political parties, and other political action committees. Under federal law, candidates and super PACs are not permitted to coordinate campaign activity.

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Super PACs made their campaign debut in the 2010 midterm elections, when they collectively spent $390 million.

Like other federally regulated committees, super PACs are required to regularly disclose their donors, but the most active committees of the 2012 campaign are not required to file their first disclosure report until the end of the month.

Topping the list of big-spending super PACs is Restore Our Future, which is run by supporters of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The group has invested at least $7.8 million in the Republican primary contest as of last Friday, almost all of it on television ads and direct mail in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida attacking former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Restore Our Future has also spent just over $100,000 in positive ads about Romney in South Carolina, and another $30,000 to produce television ads attacking former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in South Carolina and Florida.

A group supporting Gingrich, Winning our Future, is the second-highest spending presidential super PAC with $4.3 million spent since just before Christmas. Prior to the Iowa caucuses on January 3, the pro-Gingrich super PAC spent $1.5 million on television, radio, and internet advertising, email outreach and phone banking in support of the former Speaker. After a $3.4 million negative ad and direct mail blitz in Iowa from the pro-Romney super PAC, Gingrich placed fourth in the caucuses. The pro-Gingrich group then switched tactics and has spent at least $2.8 million attacking Romney in South Carolina on television, radio, and online.

Gingrich by far has been the most-attacked presidential candidate by super PACs this campaign cycle. A total of $7.7 million has been spent on various campaign activities advocating against Gingrich's candidacy, and almost all of that amount comes from the pro-Romney Restore Our Future. The second-most attacked candidate, Romney, was the target of $3.2 million in expenditures, almost all of it from the pro-Gingrich super PAC.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been the beneficiary of almost $4 million in spending by Make Us Great Again, a super PAC that supports the Lone Star State chief executive. Texas Rep. Ron Paul has the support of at least two super PACs that have spent a combined $3.3 million in activities advocating his presidential bid. One such group, Endorse Liberty, has spent $2.9 million in support of Paul, almost entirely on internet-based advertising. The group also boasts one of the more unusual super PAC spending items so far this campaign: almost $3000 in "costumes" in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses.

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • Rick Perry • Rick Santorum
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Good, just getting warmed up! Republicans are going to have to be ready to counter the One-Billion-Dollar-Obama-Lie-Machine and all of the positive free media attention from his lackeys in the LSM.

    January 17, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Ferret out the B.S.

    So the conservative court has made it possible for influence peddling to be completely legitimate, just what the GOP wanted because they figured their supporters would have more money than Democratic party supporters. However it seems the GOP may actually implode from this in this election year candidate search. The GOP must ask itself, is it really getting the best bang for the buck? I don't think so, money doesn't always buy happiness or a president.

    January 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Myth Romney Million$$$ and his Super PACs Thug Could ONLY Buy him 8 extra Votes

    Myth MorNey and his Super PACs Thugs are ready to buy up the Unted States of "VULTURE CAPITALIST", so they can break it up, CUT TAXES and ship MORE American jobs to CHINA under the guise of making govt smaller & free enterprise!

    "corporations are people too, my friend"!....Myth MorNey!!!!

    January 17, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Jake

    Sounds like someone is a just a tad bit jealous of Obama's fund raising.

    January 17, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Gurgi

    I hate to say it, but Ron Paul is looking better and better. Though his foreign policies bother me a bit.

    January 17, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. tigrr

    "The owners of the Washington D.C. Corporation have already decided on Mitt Romney as the new President of the United States. They have been rigging opinion polls and primary results to make sure their decision is enforced. The corporate media propaganda machine is also in on the decision. The Asian creditors to the Western nations do not interfere in the politics of other countries so they will take no stand on this issue. They say this is an internal matter for the American people to resolve on their own...." - from latest Benjamin Fulford Report

    "The greatest conspiracy is that there are no conspiracies.' – General/ President Eisenhower

    January 17, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Ben

    Ron Paul all the way for 2012!

    January 17, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Ray

    It seems evertime Ron Paul mentions anything about the war in AFGHANISTAN,he gets booed.Think he would learn not to do that

    January 17, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. JK Jarvis

    Does Romney have to report all of the money spent by the LDS Church, "softening" opposition to his religious beliefs – "I am a Mormon" campaign?

    January 17, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. TwM

    You fail to realize that the Supreme Court only leveled the field. Unions (dem backers) already had this in effect, now Corps are allowed an equal say. What should have been done is all these type donations should have been criminalized.

    January 17, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Cody

    Unions were not recognized as people... only each person inside of them. They had a maximum campaign contribution before this ruling. Now they don't, though.

    January 17, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Behonest

    I can think of much urgent and cause worthy things that 390 mils could be spending on. Looks like you "DO" can buy the presidency these days, as long as you are filthy rich. What a beautiful world that we are living in.

    January 17, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. lance corporal

    thank the republicans for the lopsided supreme court that allowed this super pac nightmare
    look at the MILLIONS being wasted, for what???
    we should hire politicians like we hire accountants and fire them when they suck at the job

    January 17, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Gurgi wrote:

    I hate to say it, but Ron Paul is looking better and better. Though his foreign policies bother me a bit.
    And it is Ron Paul's foreign policy that has the most realistic chance of him actually being able to implement. It doesn't take an act of Congress to order home troops.

    January 17, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. mopery

    Hooray for The United States of America! We have the best government that money can buy!

    January 17, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Phil in KC

    We need a law outlawing Super PACs. In fact, we should outlaw any campaign contributions except those from individuals – and those should be capped.

    January 17, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. HolyChrist

    Where there is money, there is power. The Super PACs are prime examples of that. When will the Republicans learn that the power needs to lie with the people and not big business?

    January 17, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. Mike

    Welcome to America!! Where NOTHING is sacred. Evil do-er's and charlatains run our country and mislead the american people in an effort to control us.... Lies deception and misrepresenation run rampant. The middle class wants truth and justice and all we see is the Eliete doing everything they can to BUY the election and run our country in to the ground in an effort to prove their point. This whole country just REAKS of corruption... What's so great about a corrupt country with corrupt CEO's and corrupt everything else where nothing is ever paid back to those who sacrifice the most!?!?! Where making a profit trumps humanity and community? IS this really where we're headed?

    January 17, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Mikey

    @TwM – You really want us to believe that. Even before Citizens United, seven of the top ten outside political groups were conservative groups backed by corporations or wealthy individuals. The other three, which were not the biggest overall, were union funded. That is one of the main reasons the GOP is attacking unions, union dues, and collective bargaining. They want to have unopposed influence, which is maginfied under Citizens. It helps to have facts, so YOU don't fail to realize the truth.

    January 17, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. carlos

    MixedMexMitt....his ads are full of lies and deceit...typical REPUBIC...and...Truth and Nothing But the Truth not so far behind his uneducated postings.

    January 17, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. John

    I am shocked!

    January 17, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    We should criminalize the vile class warfare hate speech that the Democrats. When it spawns violence and rioting it'll be too late.

    January 17, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. Saboth

    Hilariously sad that these guys will spend hundreds of millions just on a nomination while Americans struggle with declining wages and skyrocketing healthcare. It's so cool that the SCOTUS decided corporations should run our elections now.

    January 17, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. Between Unemployment

    Let's just take a quick look at where all that money's coming from:

    January 17, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. D

    Mo money, mo problems!

    Time to get the cash out of elections.

    January 17, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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