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More praise for IQ2 US

Two Cheers for Super PACs: Money in Politics Is Still Overregulated

From the Panel

  • For: David Keating

  • Meet the Parents of the Super PACs
    David Keating and Edward H. Crane, Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2012 Political spending is good for democracy. It's a shame today's liberals don't trust the wisdom of voters.
  • Campaign Finance Disclosure Rules Infringe on First Amendment Rights
    David Keating, U.S.News & World Report, June 21, 2012 In the landmark case of Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court wrote that "compelled disclosure, in itself, can seriously infringe on privacy of association and belief guaranteed by the First Amendment." This is happening today with smaller donors.
  • The Anniversary of SpeechNow.org and the Rise of the Super PAC
    Zac Morgan, Center for Competitive Politics, March 26, 2012 The Center for Competitive Politics together with the Institute for Justice, represented SpeechNow.org—a group then headed by current CCP president David Keating—in Federal court against a government that was attempting to limit the amount of resources available to SpeechNow.

  • For: Jacob Sullum

  • Why Super PACs Are Good for Democracy
    Jacob Sullum, Reason, March 14, 2012 Wealthy super PAC donors make politics more competitive.
  • The Rap Against Super PACs
    Jacob Sullum, Reason, January 12, 2012 While billionaires like Adelson do not need Super PACs to express themselves, such organizations do enable people of more modest means to pool their resources.
  • Who Will Save the Poor Incumbents From the Super PAC Onslaught?
    Jacob Sullum, Reason, March 8, 2012 Today's New York Times tells the heart-rending story of U.S. representatives who run for re-election but don't necessarily win. Who is responsible for this disturbing development?
  • The Vain Crusade to Purify Politics
    Jacob Sullum, Reason, January 18, 2012 Wealthy individuals, like wealthy candidates, have always been free to spend as much of their own money on political ads as they please.
  • Harmann vs. Jacob Sullum—Defending Super PACs
    Jacob Sullum, Reason, March 14, 2012Thom Hartmann debates Jacob Sullum, who says wealthy Super PAC donors make politics more competitive.
  • Against: Trevor Potter

  • Money Talks: OpenSecrets.org’s Interview With Top Campaign Finance Attorney Trevor Potter
    Trevor Potter and Kathleen Ronayne, Open Secrets, August 3, 2011 In an interview with OpenSecrets Blog, Potter discusses the seriousness of Colbert’s super PAC, how political speech isn’t for “sissies,” and how the U.S. Supreme Court is made up of “theorists” who are “not in touch with reality” when it comes to how money is being raised and spent.
  • Examining the Super PAC With Colbert’s Trevor Potter
    Terry Gross and Trevor Potter, Fresh Air, February 23, 2012 Trevor Potter discusses super PACS on Fresh Air.
  • Five Myths About Super PACs, Challenging Everything You Think You Know
    Trevor Potter, Washington Post, April 13, 2012Potter debunks myths about super PACs.
  • The Colbert Report
    Video of Trevor Potter’s appearances on The Colbert Report.
  • Campaign Finance in the 2012 Elections: The Rise of Super PACs
    Trevor Potter and Anthony Corrado, Brookings Institution, March 1, 2012 On the heels of the FEC's February filing deadline, the Governance Studies program at Brookings hosted a discussion exploring the role of super PACs in the broader campaign finance landscape this election season.  Anthony Corrado, a leading authority on campaign finance, and Trevor Potter, nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former chairman of the FEC, presented.
  • McCain-Feingold: A Good Start
    Trevor Potter, Washington Post, June 23, 2012 The limited goal of the legislation was to remove the obvious corruption of six-figure individual contributions, and corporate and labor donations (increasingly solicited by elected federal officials) to national committee coffers.

  • Against: Jonathan Soros

  • Son of Liberal Financier George Soros Launches Anti-Super PAC Super PAC
    Dan Eggen, Washington Post, July 12, 2012 Jonathan Soros, son of a prominent liberal financier, is helping to launch an independent advocacy group with hopes of spending up to $8 million targeting House lawmakers, primarily Republicans, who oppose public matching funds for elections and other campaign finance reforms.
  • Jonathan Soros Super PAC Aims To Raise Big Money To Reduce Big Money's Power
    Paul Blumenthal, Huffington Post, July 13, 2012 The newest super PAC ready to make a splash in the fall elections may be the least likely. Friends of Democracy -- which is headed by Jonathan Soros, son of billionaire hedge funder George Soros; Ilyse Hogue, former MoveOn political and communications director; and David Donnelly, executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund -- seeks to build political power on the issue of reducing the political power of big money.
  • Super PAC Hits Four House Republicans on Lobbyist Ties
    Cameron Joseph, The Hill, August 9, 2012 Friends of Democracy, the new super-PAC from Jonathan Soros targeting congressmen who oppose campaign finance reform, is up with $700,000 worth of ads attacking Reps. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) for the donations they've received from special-interest groups.


  • FOR

  • Super PACs Can’t Crown a King
    George F. Will, Washington Post, February 29, 2012 Every melodrama requires a villain, and the people currently hysterical about super PAC money in politics blame the 2010 Citizens United decision. The court’s unremarkable logic was that individuals do not forfeit their First Amendment speech rights when they come together in corporate entities or unions to speak collectively.
  • Here Is What’s So Super About Super PACs
    Chip Mellor, Forbes, June 26, 2012 This avalanche of negative coverage is frustrating to free speech advocates because it isn’t warranted by the reality of super PACs. At their most basic level, super PACs are just groups of people that pool money to spend on political speech.
  • Why Super PACs Are Good for Democracy
    David Weigel, Slate, February 13, 2012 They’ve made the race for the White House a lot more fair.
  • Super for Democracy?
    Economist, February 20, 2012 The Citizens United decision's deregulation of spending on campaign-season political speech certainly did make it simpler for billionaires to throw money at candidates, but it also makes it much easier for the rest of us to pool our resources and talents in the service of saying what we want to say, the way we want to say it, about the politicians bidding to rule us.
  • Don’t Believe the Hype About Corporate Political Spending
    James R. Copland, Examiner, June 22, 2012EIt simply isn’t the case, as is often alleged, that corporate dollars flowing into the super-PACs that have dominated this political season are undisclosed. And the inconvenient truth for critics of corporate political speech is that among the largest such committees spending money during the Republican nominating campaigns, less than 1 percent of the funds came from publicly traded corporations.
  • Super PAC Influence Overblown?
    The Arena, Politico, June 14, 2012Multiple contributors weigh in on whether reporting on super PAC donors has been fair and balanced.

  • Follow the Dark Money
    Andy Kroll, Mother Jones, July/August 2012The down and dirty history of secret spending, PACs gone wild, and the epic four-decade fight over the only kind of political capital that matters.
  • Million-Dollar Megaphones
    Blair Bowie and Adam Lioz, Demos and U.S. PIRG, 2012Demos and U.S. PIRG Education Fund analysis of FEC data and secondary sources on outside spending and Super PAC fundraising for the first two quarters of the 2012 election cycle.
  • A Few Wealthy Donors Fuel Super PACs
    Fredreka Schouten and Gregory Korte, USA Today, May 3, 2012The concentration of political money in a handful of states illustrates how the free-for-all spending of the 2012 election has changed the campaign fundraising map in ways not seen since post-Watergate laws imposed contribution limits. Individuals and organizations in the securities and investment industry have donated $31 million to super PACs, the most of any sector.
  • Effects of Citizens United Felt Two Years Later
    Norman J. Ornstein, Roll Call, January 18, 2012By giving corporations free rein to meddle in politics without any accountability required, just like in the robber baron days, and by defining money as speech, the court dealt a body blow to American democracy.
  • After “Citizens United”: The Attack of the Super PACs
    John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney, The Nation, February 6, 2012Super PAC advertising is not like traditional campaign advertising. As the scenario that played out in Iowa illustrates, Super PACs allow allies of candidates with the right connections to the right CEOs and hedge-fund managers to pile up money that can then be used not to promote that candidate but to launch scorched-earth attacks on other candidates.