As I mentioned earlier today, we are just beginning to observe the role super PACs will play in the 2012 election. A handful of groups capitalized on the Citizens United ruling to begin spending money in 2010, but the extra preparation and heightened interest in presidential politics means the money spent by these groups will skyrocket over the next year.
Super PACs are already beginning to play a part in the nomination process. Make Us Great Again, a super PAC former to support Rick Perry's presidential run, is hitting the airwaves in Iowa and South Carolina with new ads:
Make Us Great Again typifies the murky separation between campaigns and these so-called independent groups. It was formed by Mike Toomey, one of Perry's former chiefs of staff at the Texas governor's office. An internal memo from the group leaked two months ago revealed that the super PAC had set $55 million as its target fundraising goal. For context, Perry's campaign raised $17 million in the last quarter. And the funders for the Make Us Great Again PAC won't be revealed until the first round of nominating states have already voted. Super PACs have less frequent disclosure requirements than the candidates, and since Make Us Great Again formed after the last deadline in the summer, none of the group's supporters will become public until after a January 31 deadline.