What is a Super PAC?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Happybunny, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #1
    I have seen these SuperPacs mentioned in various articles, but I can find very little information on what one is.
     
  2. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    #2
    I think it's a slightly derogatory term for a group that lobbies or rallies behind a candidate to further their own interests. Derogatory because it's associated with wealthy individuals exerting political power than your average person couldn't do.
     
  3. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Toronteazy
    #3
    "Political Action Committee." An organization that acts for or against a political candidate, legislation or initiative.
     
  4. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2001
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #4
    There is a Wikipedia article for that.

    In short, the SuperPAC is a new type of political action committee, enabled by a controversial Supreme Court decision, the Citizens United case, in 2010. A SuperPAC is a fundraising organization that, most notably, may collect and spend unlimited amounts of money from corporations for a candidate. There are rules about disclosure and that the candidate must not coordinate with the SuperPAC, but these rules are thin and easily exploited. The term itself is not considered derogatory, but many people disapprove of the implications of such organizations.
     
  5. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    #5
    Exactly.

    The impact on democracy, the most controversial thing, is that industries and major billionaires can buy an election for a particular candidate.

    As one might imagine, most Super PAC are conservative to ultra-conservative in nature, and seek to move politics in the directions that would tend to favor industry and favor the rich.

    It also expands inappropriately the idea that a corporate body lives and breathes the same way that an individual does, and that it is possessed of certain civil liberties that emulate those of an individual.

    In the land whence come our ideas concerning the liberty of the subject, the Law Lords are absolutely aghast at this development in the American republican political system, and they view it quite openly as an assault on democracy.

    If Democrats get control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency in the 2012 elections, they must make it a priority to change the idea of a Super PAC. It's patently ridiculous and an assault on the sovereignty of the people.
     
  6. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #6

    Solid evidence that our system is corrupt.
     
  7. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #7
    The amount of money involved in elections is disgusting to me. To think if that money was used to actually solve problems.
     
  8. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    #8
    The US Supreme Court decided that since corporations "lived" at common law, and since the principle is embodied in statute law in all the States, that these living corporations were entitled to virtually unlimited free speech just as would be the individuals contained therein.

    Since limiting the amount of money you can contribute limits your free speech unnecessarily (they said), then the Super PAC needs to be allowed to do what it wants.

    I don't think it's a sign the "system" is corrupt.

    But it's surely a sign that we need to change the statutes and precedents that led the US Supreme Court to say what it said.

    If we leave things the way that they are, it will be very hard for any national Democratic candidate to win an election. Moreover, we do not monitor State elections the way that we monitor Presidential elections. It might very well be that tonnes of money could be spent against a liberal candidate in a way that will ensure there's a ground-up conservative trend for super spending that will make it impossible for liberals to ever win an election.

    America has a reputation for being ultra-conservative in its political makeup.

    The Super PAC and the ideal that we cannot limit the kinds of spending that corporations and ultra-billionaires are currently engaging in could mean that every political body from the Virginia House of Delegates all the way up to the US Senate will be dominated by conservative Republicans, pretty much forever.

    One of the first things the Democrats should do after winning in November is find a way to fix this. If they even win this November it'll be because of the money being spent so that the Republicans can snipe each other in the pre-election process. :)

    But I'm not sure that even after the Republican Super PACS spend all that money in the pre-election process that Obama's Super PAC, Bill Gates or George Soros can make up for the Republican money that is still available from American big business trying to make sure that the tax code does not change.
     
  9. Happybunny thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #9
    Oh, so like so many things, it's all down to money:eek:
     
  10. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #10
    That is not true as Obama has a very powerful SuperPAC of his own. Both parties will use this to their advantage. They want as much money as possible to spend and nobody can stop them now. This is not a Republican vs Democrat issue, they are both in bed when it comes to fund raising.

    As long as there is money in politics the system will be corrupt.
    Obama has already raised more money at this point in his reelection bid than Bush did.
     
  11. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    #11
    And, these PACs can spend unlimited dollars both for a candidate, and also against a candidate by means of attack ads :mad: As others have said, we need to focus on America's problems, but these organizations (the right wing ones) are too blind because all they want to do is "beat Obama"
     
  12. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #12
    You don't think that the Obama Super PAC won't get into high gear once the general election starts? Right now its the Republican candidates fighting each other, there is no need for Obama to spend money yet. We have not even begun to see the mud being thrown.
     
  13. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    #13
    What I said is true.

    There is a Super PAC to re-elect the President but it only has a few million pounds in it at this point. The money won't come in until later, and it won't be anything like what the Republicans have raised, are raising and will raise. They'll always be pro-industry and pro-millionaire, and they'll always have more money to spend. The George Soros's and the Bill Gates's of the world are few and far between. Most multi-billionaires are Republicans, and most large corporations want Republican Presidents.

    What I said is true that so long as we allow Super PAC and unlimited spending, democracy is to that extent emasculated.
     
  14. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    OBJECTIVE reality
    #14
    Right now there is a multi-pronged effort underway to make the United States Republican pretty much forever. One was Citizens United. Two is the current efforts to take away the power of unions. Three is redistricting. These three things together have the capacity to basically make us a self-perpetuating, one party government. That is not hyperbole.

    The voters have dug themselves into a really deep hole. We need to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate "personhood". For that, we need not just a majority Democratic congress, but one that is liberal (i.e., not Blue Dog). Then we need to do similar work on a state level to help ensure ratification of the amendment.

    A daunting task to be sure, and one reason it is impossible to underestimate the importance of Occupy Wall Street, or some organization like it, that represents the people and agitates for change.
     
  15. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #15
    Both sides redistrict for their own personal gain, you don't think they use the census numbers as a way to pad votes? The Dems are just as guilt as the Reps.
     
  16. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    #16
    That's not a fair thing to say. I'm sure you're not trying to say things to deflect public opinion with a partial truth.

    We are speaking of Super PACS.

    The President's got one Super PAC that hasn't raised anything close to any of the Republican Super PAC's.

    The President's official campaign fund might be larger than the last Bush's official campaign fund, but it pales to the size of Republican Super PAC money.

    There's no comparison.

    Why did you even mention the official campaign fund?
     
  17. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #17
    What's the difference? Billions of dollars are being funneled into a campaign.

    Money should stay out of politics PERIOD!
     
  18. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    #18
    Redistricting is up to the States, with federal oversight. It's not even an active oversight. Somebody's got to sue about it, unless because of past tendencies to mitigate minorities causes automatic federal involvement.

    Sure, they'll redistrict to a gerrymander if it helps, but I'm not sure what this has to do with Super PAC's and how evil they've become after being legal for just a few months.

    :)

    ----------

    Well, sure.

    But it's still not equal to the total for one single Republican candidate!!
     
  19. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #19
    Newt is not even going to win the nomination so that argument is mute.
     
  20. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    #20
    They're certainly going to take full advantage of the unlimited campaign contributions and Super PACS.

    Inasmuch as any state assembly can redistrict, however, even a Democratically dominated one, I'm not sure that's as egregious an addition to your list as some other things. :)

    ----------

    Well. If you add the Super PAC money together, Romney has a lot more money that Gingrich.

    Not sure it's as moot as you say...it's really several times the money the Democrats can command.

    I agree with you Romney will get the nomination, and I think he's going to lose.

    He will have to coddle the ultra-conservatives to get the nomination, but then he's going to have to return to his Massachusetts liberal roots to try to win the campaign.

    It's not going to work.

    In my humble, dumb old man opinion, of course.
     
  21. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #21
    25% of Super PAC money has come from five people. Five.

    Less than 200 people have provided 80%.
     
  22. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #22
    Why should Obama's people spend money yet? They don't need too. When his campaign gets rolling trust me the money will flow into his Super PAC.
     
  23. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    #23
    Pretty damned scary.

    The two big Democrats haven't contributed yet, though. It might look different when they know whom they're up against.

    Or maybe they won't need to contribute that much. I don't think any of the Republicans can win against the President.
     
  24. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #24
    Don't announce Obama the winner just yet. We have a long way to go and anything can happen between now and November.
     
  25. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    #25
    Half the money in the US economy, many trillions, simply does not exist. It is abstract bytes of numeric data floating around in the financial cloud, shifted from ledger to ledger but having little real effect on anything other than who has more money than whom else. Its sole function is to measure power and influence. It makes no practical sense to suggest that this money could be put to better use, because this is its use.
     

Share This Page