Weekly Watchdog 2/2/12

Super PACs file expenditure reports

January 31st was the deadline for super PACs to file their latest expenditure reports. The Center dug into the numbers quickly to identify the major donors – and their special interests. These are the people who, in many respects, are attempting to buy the 2012 election. One thing is obvious: Most of these donors aren’t part of the 99 percent.

The Supreme Court Citizen’s United decision has made it possible for individuals, labor unions and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on advertising for or against specific candidates. Worse, that money can now come from anonymous sources. The Center has dedicated itself to tracking this special interest money in a new project called Consider the Source. Please bookmark the page and visit often. --Bill Buzenberg, executive director

Pro-Romney PAC surges with $30M - mostly from investors
Restore our future, the super PAC backing presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, received nearly $30 million in donations in 2011. The investment industry was far and away the most generous donor to the group. Supporters included several buddies from Romney’s old employer, Bain Capital, who gave a combined $750,000. Restore our Future has spent $17.5 million so far in the primary races, just about double that of pro-Gingrich PAC Winning Our Future. The super PAC has poured millions of dollars into advertising criticizing the former House Speaker as the Republican presidential nomination race heats up.

Obama gets $74M from bundlers
President Barack Obama’s campaign added 90 new big-money bundlers in the fourth quarter of 2011, bringing its army of major backers to 445, according to information released by the campaign and tracked by the Center.

Exactly whos behind the super PACs?
You’ll find a list of the major super PACs, plus their leadership and donor base at our new Consider the Source page. The Center will continually update this list as more information becomes available. Also see who’s getting the most super PAC dough.

Center, NPR named finalist for Goldsmith Prize
The Center for Public Integrity and NPR News have been named a joint finalist for the prestigious 2012 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. The two organizations collaborated on a major air pollution investigation called Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities.

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