“The super PAC frenzy redefining campaign operations”


Super PACs have been growing in strength for more than a decade, but this cycle are swimming in more money than ever. They have started earlier, with more than $14 million in independent expenditures in the primary already, according to federal data, compared with around $950,000 at this time in 2015. The groups are also taking new approaches, deploying staffing at campaign events, paying for door-knocking operations and even sending fundraising texts on candidates’ behalf.

Some of the new strategies could test the legal limits on coordination between campaigns and super PACs, though campaign finance experts say the groups so far seem to be complying with how the Federal Election Commission has interpreted the rules. But the greater on-the-ground presence of super PACs has not gone unnoticed.

“There does seem to be a new level of brazenness about how much super PACs are appearing at campaign events and vice versa,” said Saurav Ghosh, director of federal campaign finance reform at the Campaign Legal Center.

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