PACs May Become More Secret In 2012 Race, Experts Say
October 7, 2011 by Sam Rolley
Because Florida and other early-voting states have moved their primaries into January, some campaign finance experts believe that the 2012 Presidential race may have loopholes for the first time allowing large, undisclosed corporate donations to be made through political action committees (PAC).
According to The Washington Post, the new schedule increases the possibility of outside spending groups running millions of dollars in ads in the final days of the races. No disclosure will be required until the contests are over.
Super PACs, the new type of political group that is unrestrained by spending and contribution limits, have the power and funding to run advertisements and promote the candidate of their choice with hundreds of millions in corporate and private funds. Depending on how the PACs decide to navigate Federal Election Commission (FEC) deadlines, all transparency in the 2012 race may be lost, according to some experts.
“There are more and more ways to keep things secret if you want to,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told The Post. “This is just another example of a way to make secret expenditures until after the election.”
The next disclosure deadline for super PACs is Jan. 31, when FEC reports covering the last six months of 2011 are due. Last week, Florida Republicans changed the State’s primary to Jan. 31, forcing Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to bump their dates into early January. This means that reports won’t be filed before votes in those States are cast.
Now by either confining spending to 19 days before the primary or switching to a monthly reporting schedule, PACs can leave voters in the dark as to which special interest groups are pushing their candidates.