It’s no secret Super PACs are spending vast sums of money on Republican and Democratic causes. The donor rolls are often non-disclosed or partially disclosed, making them very attractive to the wealthiest members of society. OpenSecrets.org notes, however, that “The vast majority of spending by nondisclosing groups over the last 12 weeks went to aid conservative causes — that is, either to support Republicans or oppose Democrats around the country.”
This is only a fraction of the campaign spending in the 2012 election cycle. OpenSecrets.org’s report—made possible through Federal Election Commission data—does not account for 501(c) non-profit group issue ad spending, which must be reported only in “pre-primary, pre-convention, or pre-general election time periods.”
“Pro-conservative spending by nondisclosing groups totaled more than $103 million over this period; the comparable total on the liberal side was $16 million,” reports OpenSecrets.org. “This trend has been consistent throughout the 2012 cycle as a whole — with conservative nondisclosing groups outspending liberal ones by more than $100 million — and more generally in the post-Citizens United era.”
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision paved the way for this type of unlimited, secretive spending conservative donors and their GOP parrots enjoy so much. Social welfare and trade unions can also tap into the secretive power of Super PACs, but they are not nearly as well-funded as their corporate counterparts.
These secretive groups may say that political donations are a matter of privacy—that we should all stop whining about non-disclosure. To that we might say: if their version of free market capitalism is superior, come out in the open and win the argument on the merits.
One can be disgusted with Sheldon Adelson’s very open funding of conservative causes, but at least he’s not bashful about his greed.