In recent congressional primaries, nine super PACs have spent a total of $1.3 million, while only reporting $37,318, according to The Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.
The data made available on the OpenSecrets website notes that one super PAC, The Spirit of Democracy America (such a glory in that name!), registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on May 14, without a website, and has spent $163,514 in in media buys in support of Republican Rep. Paul Cook.
As OpenSecrets notes—a consequence of the Citizens United v. FEC ruling—the source of the super PAC’s donations is secret. “Thanks to a particular quirk in FEC reporting rules, the group was able to run ads in the run-up to the California primary without disclosing its donors,” writes OpenSecret’s Dan Glaun.
If a super PAC chooses to quarterly file a report with the FEC, it must make its donors names and finances public before the primary. However, there is a loophole: if a super PAC receives and spends money in the 20 days before a primary, it does not have to report to the FEC until the following quarter. As a result, the nine super PACs will have their donors made public on July 15, well after the primaries.
OpenSecrets also looked into the spending patterns of the Conservatives Acting Together PAC, or (absurdly) CATPAC as a perfect example of how the loophole can be exploited.
The super PAC filed a pre-primary report on May 16 disclosing all donors and expenditures from April 5 to May 9. CATPAC reported having received just $20,500 in contributions, and that it was down to less than $25 cash on hand.
Yet the day after its report, CATPAC made a nearly $100,000 radio buy supporting Michael Williams‘ bid for the GOP nomination in Texas’ 25th congressional district.
This, folks, is the democracy for which the Citizens United and the GOP fought so hard—people banding together in secret and attempting to both buy candidates and hypnotize voters with their propaganda.