Smaller PACS can still throw weight around

Oct. 9, 2012 at 8:25 AM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A new type of super PAC, smaller with less money and tightly focused, has become a force in this fall's political campaigns, campaign spending reports reveal.

Some super PACs back Democrats, while others support Republicans, but they are most evident in House races, which are cheaper than presidential or Senate campaigns, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Many of the groups did not incorporate until this summer, fueling a surge of spending in September. Through the beginning of October, the federal Election Commission reported $38.5 million in independent spending by super PACs and other outside groups. That's seven times what was spent during the same period in 2010.

About $18 million of the total was spent to back Democrats, $19.8 million on Republicans. That does not include spending on issue ads that groups are not required to disclose to the FEC.

The smaller groups operate without many of the trappings of larger groups, foregoing websites, spokesmen and news releases, leaving the public with little knowledge about the groups. They often are focused on supporting a particular candidate or specific agenda.

For example, Public Campaign Action Fund, which supports tighter campaign regulation, has spent a relatively minor $722,948 split over several states on ads opposing Republicans. The group's director, David Donnelly, says while larger groups use their thicker wallets like a blunt instrument, campaign spending by his group is wielded like a scalpel.

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