According to a new report and infographic released by Maplight, a nonprofit research group that studies the influence of money on politics, a Super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has raised more than $4.5 million from just 59 donors in Florida alone.
Super PACs are a fairly new type of political action committee that can raise unlimited amounts of money in support of or opposition to a candidate.
Maplight reports that Restore Our Future, the Super PAC supporting Romney, raised $4,534,190 from 59 contributors in Florida. In contrast, the Super PAC supporting President Obama, Priorities USA, has raised only $49,600 from 14 contributors in the state.
Although Florida is among the states that has donated the most money to Restore Our Future, the political committee has raised much of its funds in New York. A mere 42 contributors in the Empire State donated a total of $8,585,925 to the PAC, Maplight reports.
Restore Our Future has already been influential in Florida. The group spent a whopping $17.8 million in Florida’s primary, according to ProPublica’s PAC Track. Of that cash, $10.9 million was spent by Restore.
Just last month, the Sunlight Foundation reported that Super PACs, and other outside groups, are already spending four times as much money on this upcoming presidential as they did during the 2008 presidential election.
The more controversial Super PACs were created in the wake of the federal court case known as SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission, which loosened up previous campaign finance regulations. These groups are now allowed to bring in big money, which includes unlimited amounts of money from a corporation’s treasuries (i.e. profits), and spend millions supporting or opposing political candidates. Super PACs are also notorious for receiving very limited regulation.
Polling released last month showed that 70 percent of registered voters believe that Super PACs should be illegal.