NY Times: Lines Blur Between Candidates and PACs With Unlimited Cash
One night last month,strode into a dining room above Central Park that was packed with dozens of his wealthiest supporters, gathered there by a group of former campaign aides, to talk about his bid for the White House.
The event was not a fund-raiser for Mr. Romney’s campaign, however, but for Restore Our Future, a political action committee founded by his allies. And only when Mr. Romney left the room did one of the group’s officials stand up to brief the donors on their plans: to raise and spend millions of dollars in unrestricted campaign donations — something presidential candidates are forbidden to do themselves — to help elect Mr. Romney president.
Mr. Romney’s appearance underscored the increasingly blurry line between presidential candidates and the so-called Super PACs that have proliferated since a 2010 Supreme Court ruling allowed independent groups to raise unlimited amounts to promote candidates.
Most of this year’s presidential candidates are now backed by one or more dedicated Super PACs. Unlike the broad-based independent groups backing multiple candidates that flooded last year’s Congressional elections with negative advertising — playing a role similar to that of traditional party committees — the new groups are each dedicated to the election of a single candidate.
The groups are typically founded by the candidates’ former aides, financed by the candidates’ top donors and implicitly blessed by the candidates themselves. And they are quickly beginning to rival the candidates’ own money operations in size and scope, setting off a fund-raising arms race that is changing the way presidential campaigns are financed and executed.
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