Still More on Outside Spending

In Superconnected 2014, Public Citizen reports that “at least 57 outside groups that can accept unlimited contributions [and that have spent $100,000 or more this cycle] have devoted all of their resources to supporting a single congressional candidate.” 

Public Citizen also claims that “[t]he practice of many groups devoting their efforts to one candidate suggests that the groups are not truly independent from those candidates.”  I have doubts that that fact alone is reason to find that the groups aren’t operating independently.  (For some of the groups, the report offers other ties which may or may not be indicative of dependence.)  But it does seem that if the primary (permissible) goal of regulation is preventing the appearance that incumbents are performing policy favors in exchange for donations, the incentive for a candidate to do favors in return for a major donation to a single-candidate SuperPAC isn’t meaningfully different from the incentive for a candidate to do favors in return for a major donation to the candidate’s own campaign.

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