The Big Story Blog

Iowa: Super PACs fueling negative ads

Posted at 10:16 AM on January 1, 2012 by Emily Kaiser
Filed under: Iowa

The 2012 presidential election is the first contest following a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that lowered restrictions on political spending by corporations and rich folks. 

The Star Tribune's Kevin Diaz takes a look at Super PAC spending and some of the concerns surrounding the disclosure of funding for the advertising. The sources of that funding won't be known until well after many of the major state caucuses are over. The Super PACs have a disclosure deadline of Jan. 31.

From the Star Tribune:

"Voters are not going to have timely information on who is providing money to fund these expensive advertising campaigns," said Fred Wertheimer, president and CEO of Democracy 21, a campaign watchdog group in Washington, D.C.

But to David Bossie, president of Citizens United, what voters are seeing is unbridled democracy in action. "Throughout this presidential nominating contest we've seen enthusiastic supporters of the various candidates form Super PACs in support of their chosen candidates," he said. "Their independent speech has helped inform the voters and better enabled them to select the Republican nominee."

There's little argument from anyone that the new Super PACs, which can collect unlimited contributions from wealthy donors, have been a muscular presence in Iowa. Despite the caucus system's Norman Rockwell image of neighborly persuasion, an estimated $12.5 million has been spent on ads in Iowa so far by the candidates and independent groups supporting them.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.