Super PACs increase Gingrich, Romney, Santorum funding

TEMP ORARY February 2, 2012 1

The recent Jan. 21 South Carolina Primary reestablished GOP contender Newt Gingrich as a viable candidate to many Republican voters, much to the dismay of former Republican frontrunner and New Hampshire Primary winner Mitt Romney. The GOP race for the Oval Office continues to plunge into political ambiguity as the primaries progress. The delegates have been split among three separate candidates from the previous voting states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida), which is a rare occurrence in campaign history.

Gingrich’s recent surge in the polls can be attributed to his victory in the South Carolina primary. In a press release, Gingrich discussed his recent success: “We don’t have the kind of money at least one of the candidates has, but we do have ideas and we do have people,” said Gingrich, referring to Romney’s immense Super Political Action Committees (PAC). In spite of Gingrich’s success, select voters are not convinced he is a viable candidate. “The political race of 2012 does not have just one candidate that is focused on the American future. With the direction the race is going, Newt Gingrich will win. But I think Santorum is the better option,” said Sarah Miller, a first-year Elizabethtown College student.

Now that the election season is officially initiated, the focus has shifted from the candidates to their campaigning tactics. Super PACs have become commonplace in the campaign landscape, funding the most negative of campaign advertisements. The primary financers are corporations that often claim anonymity. In a 2010 Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (FEC), judges ruled that anonymous corporations can draw capital from their treasuries and provide unlimited donations for a party or candidates, as opposed to a normal PAC which only allows up to $5,000 per candidate.

Gingrich has attracted the attention of opposing Super PACs, due to his recent increase in momentum. In response to Mitt Romney’s Super PAC, Restore Our Future, Gingrich’s campaign unleashed a ruthless campaign in Florida and South Carolina, resulting in success in the polls.

In recent weeks, Gingrich has received substantial funding for a Super PAC from prominent billionaires Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. The couple cites a personal relationship with Gingrich and states that they currently maintain a friendship with him. Alderson said in a joint statement, “We are doing what we can as private citizens to support his candidacy.” According to CNN, the couple supported Gingrich with $10 million in his recent Florida primary campaign.

According to NBC News, Romney’s Super PAC received a suspicious donation from W Span LLC in the amount of $1,000,000. When investigators inspected the company, it had been dissolved by then-President Cameron Casey, two weeks after the donation was filed in the Romney campaign. Tim Larimer, a friend of W Span LLC, stated, “The firm won’t be making any comment on this matter at this time.” When questioned concerning the donation, the Romney campaign stated, “Mitt Romney follows both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law in all circumstances.”

Gingrich’s Super PAC, Winning Our Future, cites similar allegations against Romney. During a Florida-based ad campaign, Gingrich’s Super PAC accused Romney of stealing money from Medicare funds during his tenure as Governor of Massachusetts. Romney’s team made a quick refutation, releasing the statement, “Speaker Gingrich and his political cronies are desperate to distract from his record of failed and unreliable leadership. Fortunately, Florida voters are smart enough to see through his dishonest political tactics.”

When Etown students were asked their opinion of candidates’ recent campaign tactics, the response was extremely diverse. David Nagel, a first-year business administration major, stated, “I believe candidates with larger capital have more of a capacity to influence the informed public. Large [Super PACs] give campaigners a greater opportunity to travel and produce advertisements. If Ron Paul had the amount of money Mitt Romney had, he would certainly have higher standings in the race.”

Kyle Dise, a first-year biology major, believes corporations play no significant role in the election process. “I believe corporations can donate as much as they want to the campaigners; at the end of day the best candidate will win,” Dise said.

Bhim Thapaliya, a first-year biology major, expressed his disapproval for the Citizens United v. FEC court ruling. “It is fairer in an election if every candidate has an equal amount of capital,” Thapaliya said. He continued, saying that a limited budget for candidates would be advantageous for the American public: “I believe if candidates were limited in amount of capital they could raise, it would allow for all voices to be heard. It would allow more qualified individuals who are financially limited to be able to run.”

On President Barack Obama’s side of the campaign, some analysts believe he is pursuing conservative agendas in Congress to gain admiration from Republican voters. Obama proposed condensing six agencies into one super-agency, for increased efficiency when dealing with domestic businesses. This re-organizing power has not been utilized since the Reagan era. Brendan Buck, spokesperson for Speaker of the House John Boehner, stated, “We hope the president isn’t simply proposing new packaging for the same burdensome approach. However, eliminating duplicative programs and making the federal government more simple, streamlined and business-friendly is always an idea worth exploring.” Political analysts project that this action will be beneficial in convincing conservatives that Obama is of moderate orientation. Other pundits project similar outcomes for the conservative measures taken by Obama.

The GOP campaign will undoubtedly complicate itself further as the primaries progress, only indicating a clear winner closer to the Republican National Convention. The target of the GOP Super PACs may eventually transition to the President of the United States as election day approaches. The next caucus is scheduled for this Saturday in Nevada.

One Comment »

  1. RobertMWStanfor February 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    It is to bad that Newt turned to populist anti-capitalist rhetoric in order to try and appeal to social conservatives that may be wary of “walls street types”. Newt and the super PACs that support him have confused the issue over what is good and bad capitalism. They have made some normal market operations always bad capitalism, even if they are a product of free market activities.

    http://www.examiner.com/bloomington-economic-policy-in-springfield/good-capitalism-vs-bad-capitalism

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