The fundraising environment has changed in the wake of Citizens United and other Supreme Court rulings that favor “free speech” (the right of corporations to use money to influence elections) over citizen-backed campaign finance rules. But one Republican is taking better advantage than the rest:[Mitt] Romney thus far appears to be the only GOP presidential candidate with a super PAC publicly established to help his cause, although there are two trying to recruit others to the field. Americans for Rick Perry PAC was formally established this week, and Draft Christie for President was formed in May. Texas Governor Rick Perry is weighing a run for president; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has said repeatedly he will not run.
While sponsors of a super PAC can raise unlimited sums from individuals, the new rules limit the candidates themselves to soliciting super PAC money within limits of $5,000 per individual. Obama has supported federal legislation that would require more disclosure and has vowed not to help Priorities USA Action or other super PACs raise money.
“Neither the President nor his campaign staff or aides will fund-raise for super PACs,’’ said spokesman Ben LaBolt. “Our campaign will continue to lead the way when it comes to transparency and reform – refusing contributions from Washington lobbyists and PACs and disclosing the names of donors who are fund-raising for the campaign.’’
A Romney spokeswoman would not say whether he or his campaign will help independent super PACs supporting him raise money. The spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said Romney was happy to have the support given the fund-raising advantages enjoyed by an incumbent president.
“President Obama and his political team have signaled they will spend a billion dollars to hold onto power,’’ she said in a statement. “We are pleased that independent groups will be active in fighting this entrenched power so the country can get back to work.’’
Gotta love the irony of Mitt Romney–a millionaire who spent most of his career shedding jobs to “save” companies at Bain Capital–framing himself as the fighter of entrenched interests, the little guy who needs all the help he can get against Barack Obama, labor, minorities, and the poor.
Copyright 2011 The National Memo