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Project

Super PACs & Coordination

There is a yawning gap in the rules that govern money in politics and government ethics. We must prevent special interests from using super PACs and officeholder-controlled nonprofits to bypass campaign finance limits and improperly influence candidates and elected officials.

Overview

The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, along with other cases, lifted limits on inde­pend­ent fundrais­ing and spend­ing in elec­tions. Super PACs and other vehicles for wealthy donors quickly came to domin­ate elec­tion spend­ing in key federal, state, and local contests. Their skyrock­et­ing spend­ing has left many concerned that elec­ted offi­cials work mainly for big spend­ers who fund their campaigns — and not for the Amer­ican people. 

What’s more, many elec­ted offi­cials have estab­lished nonprofits that raise unlim­ited sums from secret donors and spend on activ­ity that, during campaign season, would qual­ify as polit­ical. Since 2010 at least two pres­id­ents, seven governors, and several prom­in­ent mayors – from both major parties – have worked via such groups. This prac­tice, and the lack of rules govern­ing it, poses a seri­ous risk of corrup­tion.

The Bren­nan Center promotes legis­la­tion that would limit collab­or­a­tion between candid­ates’ campaigns and super PACs, and between elec­ted offi­cials and nonprofits run in their name. 

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