Journalism in the Public Interest

Candidates Increasingly Connected to Supposedly Independent PACs

Many of the 2012 presidential hopefuls have close ties to Super PACs, new political action committees that can raise unlimited money in support of a candidate, but are supposed to operate independently.


President Barack Obama greets people as he arrives for a town-hall-style meeting on Aug. 15, 2011 in Decorah, Iowa. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

It looks like most of the 2012 presidential hopefuls have one thing in common: They have close ties to the people who run some so-called Super PACs.

Those are the new-fangled PACs that are allowed to raise unlimited money and can run ads supporting or attacking candidates, but are also supposed to operate independently of candidates. As the New York Times detailed Sunday, those lines are increasingly being blurred:

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.

As the Los Angeles Times has detailed, Democrats and Republicans have both been aggressively using Super PACs. There are a number of Super PACs that support President Obama, which have raised $7.61 million altogether in the first half of this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. (For more on Super PACs and how they came to be, check out our earlier guide.)

Now concerns are growing about how independent Super PACs really are from the candidates they support. The New York Times notes that Barack Obama, John Huntsmann and Michele Bachmann all have Super PACs run by the candidates' former aides or associates.

In June, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent out an email soliciting contributions to a Democratic Super PAC, with a disclaimer at the end to protect Reid from accusations of collaboration: “Senator Reid is only asking for a donation of up to $5,000 from individuals and federal PACs. He is not asking for funds from corporations, labor unions or other federally prohibited sources.” Open Secrets noted that Reid's former chief of staff and one of his long-time strategists were on the Super PAC's staff.

More recently, Mitt Romney has raised eyebrows for working closely with a Super PAC. Romney spoke at a fundraiser for the Restore Our Future PAC earlier this year, leaving the room before the leaders of the group started to discuss their plans with potential donors. The Super PAC was founded by three of his former aides.

The Restore Our Future PAC also came under scrutiny when it received a $1 million donation from a company that dissolved shortly after donating, and listed no owner or address in its corporate records. After campaign-finance watchdog groups started calling for an FEC inquiry, former Bain Capital executive Edward Conard identified himself as the donor. Romney co-founded Bain Capital in 1984 and served as its CEO until 1999.

"I think the whole controversy with regards to his contribution certainly sort of disappears when he came forward and said he was the contributor,” Romney stated after Conard identified himself. “He's been a long-term business associate and friend of mine, a contributor in the past."

Some of the Super PACs supporting Texas Gov. Rick Perry are founded by people in his inner circle, including former Perry chief of staff Mike Toomey, who co-owns a private island with Perry's campaign manager. Dan Shelley, who used to be Perry's legislative director and now runs two pro-Perry PACs, told the Huffington Post that he hasn't talked to the Perry campaign about his work, since "that's against the law."

Perry has also faced other questions that he's getting too cozy with his big donors. This week, the Houston Chronicle reported on allegations that one of Perry's big donors, Bob Perry (no relation), may have indirectly funneled $500,000 to the governor during his 2006 re-election campaign, using the Republican Governor's Association as an intermediary. If that's the case, it could be a violation of Texas campaign disclosure laws. Records of the calls became public as part of a lawsuit filed by Chris Bell, Perry's Democratic challenger in the 2006 gubernatorial race.

Under Texas law, Bob Perry was free to make unlimited contributions to Perry's campaign itself. Bell's lawyers allege that the donation was funneled through the RGA to avoid criticism, since Perry had just attacked Bell for receiving a $1 million contribution from a wealthy Texas lawyer. Perry settled with Bell for $426,000 last year. Perry's campaign and the RGA both say that they did not violate Texas law.

Barry Schmittou

Aug. 31, 2011, 2:03 p.m.

Obama and most of the candidates are owned by corporate Psychopaths !!

Index to Deadly Evil Protected By Obama and Bush in Five Types of Insurance :

(1) Workers Comp :

WFAA - TV Wrote :

“a remarkable number of Texans committed suicide because they could no longer endure the pain caused by their injuries and they had been repeatedly turned down for worker’s comp care. Some insurance companies send peer review doctors medical files “stripped” of records important to the possible approval of workers’ comp claims.”

During the time period of the suicides Obama’s contributors at AIG rigged billions of dollars in bids to increase sales of Workers Comp policies; They paid a $1.6 billion dollar payoff to the SEC but no one was prosecuted by the Bush Administration.

AIG gave Obama at least $119,670 in 2008

They spent $83 million lobbying in ten years

Obama’s DOL/DOJ told me stopping violations is their top priority but will not investigate the suicides and destruction of lives as seen at !!

(2) Disability

U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen wrote :

“Metlife and its henchmen should appreciate that such conduct may itself precipitate the suicide death of a person who has placed implicit trust in their organization. This record is an open indictment of MetLife’s practices and treatment of the mentally-ill and long-term disability benefits.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer Guerm wrote these quotes in Wright verses Metlife :

“MetLife relied on clearly erroneous findings of fact in making its benefit determination. MetLife’s review of Plaintiff’s appeal consistently omitted or misrepresented relevant information in several ways. On October 18, 2004, Dr. Barnett wrote a letter to MetLife stating:

“I am gravely disturbed by your misrepresentation of the facts with regard to my discussion with your independent physician consultant and your lack of due diligence in collecting further medical information regarding Mr. Wright’s health condition. Indeed, Mr. Wright has ongoing cardiac disease including ischemia and loss of function due to previous myocardial infarctions.”

U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner won the Thurgood Marshall Award of the American Bar Association in 2008.

Here are two important quotes Judge Gertner wrote about Metlife:

“It misquoted Whitehouse’s doctors and cherry-picked or took out of context statements made. The denials continued to press factual inaccuracies even after being informed of the errors.”

“Perhaps most egregious of all, it misquotes Dr. Bhan as stating that Whitehouse “[was] able to function” AR 116 when, in fact, he said “she was not able to function.” AR 121 (emphasis added).

(many more case quotes are linked at the treason website seen above)

In 2008 Obama took $30,000 from MetLife VP James Lipscomb, and $2,600 from attorney Bruce Yannett.

He also took hundreds of thousands of dollars from MetLife and the law firm named Debevoise & Plimpton LLP that employs Mr. Yannett !!

Then Lipscomb and Yannett signed MetLife’s third Non Prosecution agreement for committing multiple frauds and rigging bids to increase sales of disability policies;

BUT when sick and dying patients file claims on these policies your DOL/DOJ will do nothing about doctors paid by MetLife ignoring brain lesions, Multiple Sclerosis, cardiac conditions of many patients and a foot a new mother broke in five places, as evidenced by quotes from numerous federal Court Judges that are seen later.

(3) War Zone Contractors :
This Spring I was asked to help an injured Iraq War Zone Contractor from South Africa who had his leg, fingers and toes blown off and many other injuries from a car bomb blast.

Here are his exact quotes :

“The Sheriff repossessed my wheelchair because CNA Global Insurance stopped payment on the check that they issued to the suppliers and my life really started spiraling out of control”

In another War Zone case wrote “CNA withheld portions of the investigators’ findings when it submitted the claims to the Labor Department, court records show.Labor officials can recommend cases for prosecution to the Justice Department–but have only done so once in the past two decades, according to Labor officials.”

Obama received at least $61,887 from CNA in 2008

You can see many more bid riggings connected to Obama contributors at

It is such a shame that Obama is allowing such tremendous destruction of lives while leading prayers on TV and making statements in his Eulogy sermon where he said we should :

“expand our moral imaginations”
“sharpen our instincts for empathy”

I believe Obama and Bush and their administrations prove the “Wickedness in high places” mentioned in Ephesians 6:12 is true !!

God please help us all !!

Certainly the law is being subverted if it so easy to get around the regulations.  Whatever happened to the ‘no revolving door’ policy of the last few presidents. While I still support PRESIDENT OBAMA, I am getting closer and closer to registering as a Green, one of the 5 or 6 REAL parties in my state.  If money is the root of all evil, then it is certainly evil in Washington.  Even at my advanced middle age, I have been naive about what goes on in Washington and my state capital. Seems even my own party has subverted the rules.  I would like to belive it is only theothers guy, but facts don’t lie.

Why, exactly, is this a surprise?  As soon as anybody talked about limiting campaign spending, of course the real spending was going underground.  Did anybody think there was another possibility with politicians governing themselves?

The solution is easy, but you’ll never get the legislators to go for it:  Bounce anybody who’s seemingly supported through funded activities from the election.  You can bet they’ll police themselves infallibly to keep their opponents from gaining advantage, if that was the case.

And if you can’t get your message out in public debates or through volunteers and websites, why would I want you in charge of something?  Seriously, if you’re District Attorney of Generic CIty, USA, you can’t run commercials to convince the courts to convict criminals, so why should you be allowed to use those tactics to get the job in the first place?

This will become the most important story of the coming 2012 elections, i.e., identifying individuals and corporations that are donating to specific political candidates in the aftermath of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.  We need to find the transparency denied to us by the Supreme Court.  I hope ProPublica does whatever it can to provide this information to voters.  In addition, not just as citizens, but also as consumers, we need to know what happens to the money we spend when we invest in stocks and spend money for consumer goods.  Just as I try not to vote against my own economic interests or help those who say one thing but work against my economic interests in the shadows, I want to make sure that I do not invest in companies or buy consumer goods from companies that are actively working against me, e.g. Koch Industry spin off PACs.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Buying Your Vote

Buying Your Vote: Dark Money and Big Data

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