With today’s news report that Hillary Clinton will actively work with and solicit funds for a super PAC supporting her candidacy, the very notion that these groups are “independent” of candidates is exposed as a fallacy. Her Republican counterparts also have been actively soliciting funds for their super PACs, with Jeb Bush still delaying his announcement as a candidate so he can go so far as to relegate some of his campaign functions to a super PAC he created solely to support his candidacy. Super PACs are super-connected to the candidates they support.
Super PACs are increasingly dominating federal elections, providing campaigns with the means to sidestep contribution limits as they work closely with candidates and party committees. Now, they even are taking on many of the critical functions of candidate campaigns. As super PACs become de facto campaign committees for candidates, they provide a direct and valuable link for wealthy donors to curry favor with lawmakers and candidates.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) needs to step up to the plate and restrain this coordination between super PACs and candidates. If the FEC fails to carry through, then we must pass the anti-coordination legislation (H.R. 425) introduced by U.S. Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) that would do precisely that.