Daily Media Links 3/14: GOP campaign spending lowest since 1990s, Learning to Love the Super PAC, and more…

In the News

Bangor Daily News: GOP campaign spending lowest since 1990s 
But Bradley A. Smith, a former FEC chairman who heads the Center for Competitive Politics, which opposes many campaign-finance regulations, said the relatively low fundraising and spending levels so far this year suggest that the criticism is misplaced.  
“Much of the outcry over these decisions really is not warranted,” Smith said. “The idea that we would be awash and drowning in political ads has not really come true.”    
Independent groups

National Journal: Learning to Love the Super PAC
Last month, I argued that the influx of outside money into the political system was a boon for competition, putting on notice powerful incumbents from President Obama on down. And on the congressional side, we’re already beginning to see the dramatic implications when underdog challengers get help from third-party groups in getting their message out. 

Politico: Kaine Super PAC proposal: No secret money 
The third Senate Super PAC proposal of the cycle comes from Tim Kaine.  

ABC News: Pro-Obama Super PAC Raises $2M in February, Trails Pro-GOP Peers 
Priorities USA Action, the super PAC supporting President Obama, raised $2 million in February, including a $1 million donation from comedian Bill Maher, the group’s co-founder and spokesman Bill Burton confirmed to ABC News. 

Politico: David Axelrod bails on Bill Maher 
Maher, who donated $1 million to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA, has increasingly become a target of right-wing attacks over the last week in response to the left’s attacks on Rush Limbaugh. 

Atlantic Wire: The Media Convinced Everyone to Hate Super PACs
If you just take independents, a whopping 78 percent believe the fundraising vehicle should be banned outright.

Washington Post: Poll: Voters want super PACs to be illegal 
Nearly seven in 10 registered voters would like super PACs to be illegal, including more than half who feel that way strongly, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.  

Washington Post: Even with Obama’s blessing, top Dem super PAC finds tough sledding 
The top Democratic super PAC is still having trouble raising money, despite getting President Obama’s blessing.  

US News: Obama’s Super, Super PAC  
President Barack Obama’s Priorities USA Action, along with the Democratic Senate’s Super PAC, Majority PAC, and the Democratic House Majority PAC are combining to form the country’s first-ever joint fundraising Super PAC — Unity 2012

Candidates and parties


NY Times: Obama Campaign Fears Uphill Climb Raising ‘Super PAC’ Money 
The warning came from David Plouffe, President Obama’s top political adviser: The Koch brothers and Republican “super PACs” have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat Mr. Obama, he told a dozen wealthy Democrats gathered in a Silicon Valley office suite. Do not believe what you read about all the money the president will raise himself, Mr. Plouffe urged them. He needs your help.

Huffington Post: AFL-CIO’s Obama Endorsement Brings More Bodies And New Risks 
While unions say they can’t counter the money that conservative donors have poured into super PACS, they have these groups beat when it comes to arranging for bodies on the ground. The AFL-CIO said it will deploy more members than in previous years — at least 400,000, as The New York Times reported — many of them in key swing states, to knock on doors and register voters.  

STATE and LOCAL

California –– Huffington Post: Campaign Finance Reform Initiative ‘Stop Special Interest Money Now’ Backed By GOP Funders Of ‘Citizens United’ Cause
Oddly, even though the club boasts it was “instrumental” in pushing the Citizens United case, it now is backing a state ballot measure purportedly aimed at banning special-interest money in California elections – adopting some of the reformist language that critics of Citizens United use.

Illinois –– Chicago Sun Times: Federal judge throws out part of Illinois campaign finance law
U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen sided with Personal PAC, the abortion-rights group that argued the state campaign-finance law violated its free-speech protections in the U.S. Constitution.  

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