"Public Citizen Money and Democracy Update"Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $20 million: The amount that the political action committee Crossroads GPS, co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove, spent on television ads against President Barack Obama this week
  • $750,000: The amount that Super PAC Priorities USA, founded by two former Obama aides, spent on an ad buy attacking Republicans on Medicare and the economy

Stephen Colbert creates a Super PAC
Comedian Stephen Colbert, of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” asked the Federal Election Committee (FEC) to grant him a “press exemption,” which would allow the TV station’s parent company to secretly finance the election activities of the Colbert Super PAC. Public Citizen urged the FEC to deny Colbert’s overly broad request. The agency approved Colbert’s request to create a Super PAC and raise unlimited corporate donations for his committee, subject to the disclosure requirements. Public Citizen counts that as a win.

Colbert wants the money
In discussing his yet-to-be-approved Super PAC, comedian Stephen Colbert spoke his mind on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which gave corporations the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. “I believe that the Citizens United decision was the right one,” he told Politico when recently filing his papers at the FEC. “There should be unlimited corporate money, and I want some of it. I don’t want to be the one chump who doesn’t have any.”

Supreme Court again sides with big money
Speaking of the Supreme Court weighing in on campaign finance, the justices this week struck down an Arizona law that provided matching funds to candidates who accepted public financing. The matching funds gave additional support for candidates challenging wealthy opponents. “While we are disappointed with the ruling … we are heartened by the fact that the court did not attack the concept of public financing of elections,” said Craig Holman, Public Citizen’s government affairs lobbyist.

Citizens United goes after Obama’s campaign finance position
The group behind the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision last year that upended decades of campaign finance laws is at it again. This time, Citizens United is going after President Barack Obama for his alleged hypocrisy on the role of outside groups in campaign spending. The group’s video shows then-candidate Obama knocking his opponent, John Edwards, for working around campaign finance laws, despite Edwards’ commitment to reform election manipulation. Citizens United then highlighted new outside groups founded by two former Obama aides, Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, which intend to raise massive amounts of money to re-elect the president. The video urged the president to say “thanks, but no thanks” to the money.

Priorities USA is raking in the cash
The two groups founded by former Obama aides, Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, have started raking in the dough at several high-powered fundraisers. In fact, in the groups’ first two months, they raised between $4 million and $5 million. Their goal is to raise at least $100 million.

American Crossroads kicks up spending a notch
We told you last week about how the Super PAC, American Crossroads – co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove – spent more than $5.5 million in 2010 in an effort to defeat Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). It turns out there’s more where that came from. The group plans to spend $120 million in the 2012 election cycle.

At Obama fundraisers, big cash
On a single night in Philadelphia this week, President Barack Obama raised more than $1.2 million at two fundraisers. At the first, 800 people gave at least $100 each to the campaign. Later in the evening, 120 people attended a $10,000-a-head fundraiser, hosted by Comcast exec David Cohen. Other political attendees included Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D).

Americans annoyed about special interest influence
A new CBS News poll found that seven in 10 feel people like they have little say in what their government does, and eight in 10 believe most members of Congress are primarily interested in serving special interests, not the people they ostensibly represent.

7-26-11: It’s coming. Stay tuned.

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