Super PACs and non-profits are creatively charting new territory for Republicans this Presidential campaign cycle: Is it total chaos?

by - October 08, 2015

But it’s not clear that Right to Rise USA, the super PAC formed by Republican Jeb Bush prior to his presidential bid, is either. The super PAC’s biggest single vendor this year through June is a mysterious limited liability company, LKJ, LLC, whose owners are hidden behind the state of Delaware’s opaque registration laws. The company doesn’t appear to have a website or a physical office. It’s only known address: a Washington, D.C., post office box — one it shares with a company run by Heather Larrison, the national finance director for Bush’s official presidential campaign. The company’s Delaware origin makes it impossible to determine whether a chief Bush lieutenant is embedded in — and profiting from — the cash-flush tangle of entities created to boost his bid.
The video doesn’t come from the Republican’s campaign, however. Instead, it’s produced and funded by an outside group that can raise unlimited amounts to back Kasich’s candidacy. And in a bold test of rules that bar candidates from coordinating with independent groups, Kasich shot footage for this and other ads in concert with the outside group. Kasich’s camp and his allies argue that’s permissible because he was not officially a candidate when he taped material for the commercials. “In order for there to be coordination, there must be a candidate,” Connie Wehrkamp, spokeswoman for the pro-Kasich group, said in an email. “The footage featuring Gov. Kasich was filmed before any decision was made to seek the presidency.”
Hillary Clinton said Wednesday she wishes super PAC fundraising committees were banned, but she doesn’t intend to disown the ones supporting her while other candidates are benefiting from their own. “I and others have said we’re not going to unilaterally disarm while the Republicans and the Koch brothers are out there raising money that they don’t even tell you where it came from,” the Democratic candidate told hundreds of voters gathered on the sun-dappled lawn of Cornell College.
Every pro-Rubio television commercial so far in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina has been paid for not by his campaign or even by a super PAC that identifies its donors, but instead by a nonprofit called Conservative Solutions Project. It's also sending Rubio-boosting mail to voters in those same states. Rubio is legally prohibited from directing the group's spending, and he has said he has nothing to do with it. But there's little doubt that Conservative Solutions Project is picking up the tab for critical expenses that the campaign itself might struggle to afford. Although Rubio is rising in national polls, his fundraising has so far been dwarfed that of by several rivals. For one, Jeb Bush and his super PAC had amassed $114 million — more than quadruple what Rubio and his super PAC collected — by the end of June. Ahead of what is expected to be a disappointing fundraising report next week, Rubio's aides have stressed that their thriftiness gives them a competitive advantage over campaigns with more money. Left unsaid is that a secret-money group is giving him at least an $8 million assist, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media's CMAG. The candidate has presented himself as being opposed to such unaccountable money. "I have always supported disclosure," Rubio said at a New Hampshire campaign stop last month, in response to a question about money in politics. "And I think that as long as people know who is giving you money, and why it is, people can make judgments on why you are doing what you are doing." Conservative Solutions Project does not disclose its donors.
"Chaos" -Bob Bauer is skeptical of Fred Wertheimer's claim of "legalized bribery" caused by Citizen's United:
It is understandable that anyone committed to the eroding regulatory regime will look for an explanation in aberrant ideology, foolishness or bad faith.  The Court is blamed,or the FEC, or the Congress, or sometimes a President.  But it is also possible, and there is every good reason to believe, that the structure established in the 1970’s is showing its age and the flaws in its design.   This can look like “chaos.”

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