Super PACs make the dictionary
March 19th, 2014
08:34 AM ET
5 months ago

Super PACs make the dictionary

(CNN) - They've been a major force in campaign politics the past four years, and now super PACs are becoming an official part of our language.

The term has made the dictionary, with Merriam-Webster recently creating an entry for "super PAC," publishing it on its online unabridged edition.


The definition by Merriam-Webster:

Super PAC, noun: a type of political action committee that is legally permitted to raise and spend larger amounts of money than the amounts allowed for a conventional PAC; specifically: an independent PAC that can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and organizations (such as corporations and labor unions) and spend unlimited amounts in support of a candidate but that cannot directly contribute money to or work directly in concert with the candidate it is supporting

The Center for Public Integrity was first to report the new inclusion in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Super PACs started springing up after the January 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. They made an instant impact in the 2010 midterm elections, and during the 2012 election cycle, all the major presidential candidates, including President Barack Obama, had super PACs supporting them. And they've already made an impact in the 2014 election cycle, with super PACs and other outside groups pouring big bucks in a special congressional election in Florida last week.


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soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    I don't care whether it is in dictionary or not GOP is pretty much gone to dogs. Not even a fool likes it anymore. Their agenda is War. Pathetic party of "NO".

    March 19, 2014 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  2. smith

    Super Pacs really means puppet masters of the paid and bought politicians they support and fund.

    March 19, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  3. guest

    we need to cut some of the benefits to corporations. They are an advantage by nature, letting people share fiscal risks of a business, but now they are also an advantage politically, and soon can have its own conscious and have all the rights of an individual, with all the other advantages of a corporation. And they Still send all of their jobs overseas, bilk the system, and crap all over america. They did not fulfill their end of the bargain, and their advantages need to be cut to stop them from running america into the ground.

    March 19, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    smith

    Super Pacs really means puppet masters of the paid and bought politicians they support and fund.
    ----------------------
    Let's keep things in perspective. A little reality check is in order. It was conservatives who fought for the existence of Super Pacs because they could not keep with the amounts of money that liberals could raise through thousands and millions of small donations. Democrats would do away with them today, but Republicans would fight tooth and nail against it.

    March 19, 2014 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  5. wise guy

    Big business is untouchable, this is why. Its crazy, the politicians do back flips for their money, and then abolish all laws keeping them in check, and wonder why they don't fear your vote . They created a monster that has now consumed them, the parasites are running the show now. Much like bringing in the tea party, how's that working for ya?

    March 19, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Gurgyl

    -–corporate America is the backbone to American Economy, Employment. But they need to be more Ethical, thinking oriented for the good of the nation without GREED. If not it might turn around and hit them back. They better wake up. It never used to be this way till 80s.

    March 19, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. Warren

    Our forefathers are flipping over in their graves. And the Supreme Court should be ashamed for allowing this to happen.

    March 19, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Independents generally loath super PAC funding to all politico's, yet very rarely does a self describing independent on the ticker ever condemn such practices. If anything, the both sides do it argument becomes necessary for these Koch brothers independents to continue to justify what they support behind closed doors: the republican party extremists.

    March 19, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  9. smith

    @Rudy-My comment was neutral. I think super pacs are bad for both parties. I really don`t care who brought them into the fold, their here and they bring corruption to politics.

    March 19, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    -smith

    @Rudy-My comment was neutral. I think super pacs are bad for both parties. I really don`t care who brought them into the fold, their here and they bring corruption to politics.
    *****************************
    PACs were born as a response to reforms after the Watergate Scandal. Its ironic that attempts at reform seem to always breed a response around it, but Rudy is essentially correct. The idea was to have a means of tracking donations, limiting the size of them, and demanding full disclosure so the Public would know who was donating. Citizens United has turned that whole notion on its head, so, instead of people actually legislating, we have the scenario that you describe, of politicians bought about paid for in a manner so blatant that it warps us back to the Gilded Age. Neither party is immune from it, but neither party is willing to disarm and end up being swamped in the next election cycle. Its worth noting that the Democrats have been generally more supportive of taking money out of politics, whereas the Right has generally been more reluctant. McCain-Feingold would have limited it, but the Kochs and others wanted to gut it, and we are paying for it as a result.

    March 19, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @Rudy-My comment was neutral. I think super pacs are bad for both parties. I really don`t care who brought them into the fold, their here and they bring corruption to politics.
    ----------------------
    Your comments are rarely neutral. Super PACs are not as bad for the parties as they for our democracy. It is only a matter of time before these "corporate people" start demanding the right to vote.

    We have already recently heard two conservative billionaires mockingly joke about how money entitles them to do more, but they were actually pretty serious about it. How much you donate to politics should entitle you to a vote. No donations, then you do not get to vote. The more that you donate, then the more votes you should get to cast. That is the direction that these people wish to take the country. It's called Imperial Capitalism, something which Karl Marx aspired to, and wrote extensively about. Ayn Rand admired the written works of Karl Marx, and his inspiration is reflected in her writings. And today, we have politicians who aspire to Ayn Rand's fantasy world, while calling any who oppose them Marxists. How can any middle class person could support such people is baffling.

    March 19, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. Silence DoGood

    @Anonymous
    Independents generally loath super PAC funding to all politico's, yet very rarely does a self describing independent on the ticker ever condemn such practices. If anything, the both sides do it argument becomes necessary for these Koch brothers independents to continue to justify what they support behind closed doors: the republican party extremists.
    ---------------
    An "independent" voter like "libertarian" is a term that has become all but meaningless. It is largely a nice sounding term for extreme conservatives. I am a liberal libertarian – I might vote for a Green Party local candidate if they were against big corporation/government control. Yet when I joined the local "Libertarian" group in my state it was ALL some form of conservative politics. I wanted to support Libertarian initiatives to include more candidates in the voting in my state, but it was all about including more of the "right" kind of candidates.

    March 19, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. wise guy

    How about Tom Perkins, one vote for every dollar paid in taxes, thats totally fair right, oh the lunacy that inherently comes with great wealth.

    March 19, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    wise guy

    How about Tom Perkins, one vote for every dollar paid in taxes, thats totally fair right, oh the lunacy that inherently comes with great wealth.
    -----------------
    Bingo, that's the guy. He also joked about the more in taxes that you pay, then the more votes that you should get.

    March 19, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |