Seven out of ten Americans think Super PACs should be illegal

Pic by Samantha Celera, via Flickr

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll has found that 70 percent of registered voters believe that Super PACs should be illegal.

The Post reports:

Sixty-nine percent of all Americans and voters alike say super PACs, a fundraising vehicle that allows wealthy donors to make unlimited donations in support of a particular candidate or party, should be banned. Just 25 percent said they should remain legal.

Those numbers were even more startling among political independents, 78 percent (!) of whom say super PACs should be illegal.

The widespread disgust directed toward super PACs from voters comes amid a Republican presidential primary election season in which these organizations have played an outsized role.

Super PAC money has been especially influential in Florida, where a whopping $17,813,922 was spent during the state’s primary, according to ProPublica’s PAC Track. Of the $17.8 million spent in the state by Super PACs, $10,925,711 was spent by Restore Our Future, a Super PAC associated with Mitt Romney. Winning Our Future, a Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich, spent $5,396,699 in that race.

The Post also reports that Restore Our Future has already spent about “$34 million in early presidential primary states” on Romney’s behalf. Almost a third of that primary spending has been spent in Florida.

Despite the fact that Super PACs tend to bring in big money and can spend millions supporting or opposing political candidates, the groups receive very little regulation, as they 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. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Super PACs “may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations, and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates.” Thanks to new rules, Super PACs can receive unlimited amounts of money from a corporation’s treasuries (i.e. profits), something that was previously illegal.

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