Politico reported this week that casino magnate Sheldon Anderson was set to donate $20 million to a Super PAC – a political organization that can raise and spend unlimited sums – supporting Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign.
The Washington Post explains how this is legal under the current system:
Thanks to Citizens United and a subsequent court decision, Super PACs can raise unlimited sums, and spend it all advocating directly for or against a candidate, as long as there’s no coordination between the Super PAC and the candidate’s campaign. But this prohibition against coordination doesn’t really have much significance in the real world.
…And, of course, imagine how much influence Adelson will wield if his $20 million helps secure the nomination for Gingrich.
This kind of absurd spending by an individual is not new, just a different mechanism for doing so. As we reported earlier, the record for contributions from a single donor to one candidate was set by billionaire hedge-fund owner George Soros to groups supporting Democrat John Kerry in 2004. With Adelson being just the first high-donor billionaire of what looks to be many to make his mark on the 2012 presidential race, we expect that record to be broken soon.