A political action committee (PAC) is an organization that promotes public action surrounding a particular political issue or cause. These groups are limited by law as to the amount of contributions they can accept from individuals and businesses. Super PACs however, are not bound by law to follow the guidelines of ordinary PACs. This allows Super PACs to accept unlimited financial donations from individuals, corporations and unions. They can use these unlimited resources to promote their political agenda.
What are the limits of a Super PAC’s Influence
Super PACs are not able to directly contribute to a candidate’s campaign. However, they can easily promote a candidate without directly funding a campaign through avenues such as media outreach (television advertisements, billboards, etc.).
Why should we care about Super PACs?
- The advent of Super PACs has allowed candidates to have unlimited financial resources to promote their agendas, and allows them to take cover behind a legal framework and assert “These people don’t work for me!” if controversy arises
- The contributors to Super PACs remain nameless and faceless. There are serious questions about the integrity of these organizations accepting funding from major corporations and then directly supporting candidates, as it can tie a candidate to the interests of these corporations if elected.
- So far in this election cycle, Mitt Romney’s Super PAC has raised more than 40 million dollars, which they are quickly spending on attack ads directed at other GOP candidates and President Obama. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC has also raised a substantial amount of money.
- UCC’s media justice ministry successfully persuaded the Federal Communications Commission to require some online disclosure of superPAC political ads.