Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

Super PAC

In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, super PACs became campaign superpowers. Super PAC is a nickname for independent-expenditure-only political-action committees. In less wonky terms, super PACs are committees that can spend unlimited amounts of money in elections to support or oppose candidates — as long as they do it independently, i.e., without coordinating with the candidates themselves. The Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling gave corporations and unions the go-ahead to donate unlimited amounts to such committees, leading some to worry that elections would boil down to Company A vs. Company B. Though super PACs were around in the 2010 midterm elections, they've become better organized and more widely known this year. Part of the credit for that is due to satirical newsman Stephen Colbert, who cheekily set up his own super PAC to draw attention to the groups. And his slogan is still the one to beat: "Colbert Super PAC: Making a better tomorrow, tomorrow."