Super PAC Effect on House and Senate Races Heating Up

I’ve been saying for a while that the real place to keep your eye in terms of Super PACs is on Senate and House races, especially if it looks (as it well could) that control of both houses could be in play this year: “And I am greatly concerned that when Election Day is over and the public will stop hearing about Super PACs, contributions to these groups will skew public policy away from the public interest and toward the interest of the new fat cats of campaign finance, as members of the House and Senate thank their friends and look over their shoulder at potential new enemies.”

Along these lines, check out out this tidbit from a NYT article, Super PAC Increasing Congress’s Sense of Insecurity:

Obviously, when the Supreme Court made their decision to open up corporate war chests, this is the result,” [Rep. Jo] Bonner said. He initially said he had no idea who was behind the group, but then allowed that he did know that one of its top donors, J. Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade, is an owner of the Chicago Cubs.

“I’m going to have to take my little boy’s Cubs hat and throw it away, I guess,” he said with a shrug.

And this from Bloomberg’s Super-PACs Ramp Up Spending with Congressional Control at Stake about where the money’s going:

Aides to current party leaders are leaving Capitol Hill to set up groups. John Murray, former deputy chief of staff to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, in October became president of YG Action Fund. It aims to pour $30 million into races to help Republican House candidates, through the Super-PAC and two new nonprofit groups. Other former Cantor aides involved are Rob Collins, Cantor’s former chief of staff, and Brad Dayspring, who until late February was Cantor’s deputy chief of staff.

The biggest-spending Super-PAC remains Rove’s American Crossroads, which has raised $23.4 million for presidential and congressional elections this cycle. The group says it will focus on winning Republican control of the Senate. To that end, it is considering plans to weigh in on the race to help Brown retain his seat and to elect Republicans to Democratic seats held by McCaskill, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, and retiring Senator Jim Webb of Virginia.

“The Senate is where we are focused on trying to gain the majority,” said Nate Hodson, a spokesman for the group.

Both of those stories discuss the “Campaign for Primary Accountability,” which is the focus of this WaPo report:

In two Ohio congressional primaries Tuesday, a Texas-based group spent almost $190,000 supporting a pair of candidates who could not be more different: a tea party conservative and a liberal icon, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich(D-Ohio).The group’s enemy is incumbency — of any ideological stripe, anywhere in the country. The Campaign for Primary Accountability, founded by the son of a Houston construction magnate, is targeting longtime incumbents in House districts that are otherwise safe for their party. Group leaders say these long-term lawmakers who face scant competition have created a “permanent political class” that has poisoned politics.

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