Jan 17, 2012

'Super PACs' top $27.5M in campaign spending

By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY Updated 3h 34m ago

"Super PACs" have spent about $27.5 million to influence the presidential election, a good chunk coming from an independent group supporting GOP front-runner Mitt Romney.

The figures come from data collected by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. The center posts all the latest expenditures by these independent groups, which have become one of the hot-button issues of the primary campaign.

Restore Our Future, the group backing Romney, has poured $8.1 million into TV ads and mailers, much of it directed in the past two weeks at slamming Newt Gingrich. Some of the group's recent money has also been used against Rick Santorum, as the former Pennsylvania senator complained during Monday's GOP debate in Myrtle Beach.

In all, about $7.8 million has been spent by super PACs to oppose Gingrich, the former House speaker who soared in national and state public opinion polls in November.

By comparison, a pro-Gingrich group called Winning Our Future has spent slightly more than $4 million in the campaign. Nearly half of its expenditures are directed at Romney.

Romney said last night that all the candidates "would like to have super PACs disappear," as he made the case that campaign-finance laws should be loosened so there are no restrictions on political funding.

'Super PACs' top $27.5M in campaign spending