Although many watchdog organizations track how political committees raise money, few look at how the money is ultimately disbursed. PACs can spend their money as they want and often devote some of it to fundraising, but most spend the bulk of contributions on efforts clearly aimed at electing specific candidates.
Observers credit a spate of attack ads for Newt Gingrich’s recent tumble—and Mitt Romney’s rise—in Iowa polls ahead of the state’s Republican caucus. But where did they come from? Not Romney’s campaign, but rather a PAC staffed by former Romney insiders and empowered by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling to spend as much as it likes to destroy his opponents.
The Guardian is reporting that some of Europe’s biggest polluters, including everyone’s favorite oil company, have given $240,200 in campaign donations to U.S. senators who, coincidentally, helped defeat climate change legislation.