The Super PAC Fund-Raisers in the 2012 Election
If you’re not doing anything this weekend and you’ve got fifty thousand dollars to spare, here’s an idea: call up Mitt Romney’s campaign and ask if there are any spaces left at his retreat for G.O.P. mega-donors in Park City, Utah. Strictly speaking, the gathering at the luxurious Deer Valley resort is for Romney supporters who have already contributed to his reëlection effort. But the Romney fund-raising folks are very accommodating. A quick wire transfer, and you could be sharing a golf course or hiking trail with the likes of John Sununu, Condoleezza Rice, and Bill Kristol.
But, yikes, if you want to tee off with the really big stars of the G.O.P.—Romney himself; Tim Pawlenty, who is now the firm favorite to be his Vice-Presidential candidate; Bobby Jindal; and Paul Ryan—you’d better open your wallet a little wider. Politico’s Maggie Haberman reports there will be several classes of attendee at the retreat. A donation of fifty thousand dollars will merely get you “member” status. To become a “partner,” you’ll have to fork out a hundred thousand. And even then you’ll be in the second tier, behind the “stars” and “stripes”—Romney fund-raisers who have bundled together donations of more than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and five hundred thousand dollars respectively.
Welcome once again to the America of Citizens United!
At this stage, most of us are broadly familiar with the ramifications of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision, which struck down various restrictions on campaign donations. Since that five-to-four ruling, the phrase “Super PAC” has entered the political lexicon, as have some of the Orwellian names that these opaque fund-raising groups have taken on: Restore Our Future, American Crossroads, Priorities USA Action. Still, even in a country partly inured to the corrupting influence of money on politics, the latest fund-raising antics are something to behold.