More outside cash coming to politics
BOSTON (AP) -- Operating with few rules and limited oversight, outside groups spent a record $1 billion to influence last year's election.
Politicians of all persuasions griped about the meddling. But few are working to change laws that ushered in an unprecedented flood of money made possible by a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that erased years of campaign finance law.
Instead, political leaders and donors from both parties are preparing for the flow of outside money to intensify. New groups have formed and others are shaping plans to come back bigger and smarter ahead of the 2014 congressional elections and the 2016 presidential race.
What laws do remain could become even looser as the Supreme Court considers another high-profile decision.
Even as some fundraisers report fatigue following a vicious and expensive presidential campaign last year, both sides are aggressively courting donors to help further transform the political landscape.
Campaigns and political parties bound by traditional fundraising limits are moving to outsource research, advertising, data collection and issue advocacy to groups that can accept unlimited donations while often offering donors anonymity.
The president, too, is intensifying his fundraising focus to help his party and a new nonprofit organization led by his former campaign manager.
Having promised to headline at least 20 fundraisers in his final presidential term for Democrat's campaign committees, Obama last week raised millions of dollars in four events. One was a $32,400-per person brunch in Atherton, Calif.
"I'm going to need some help," Obama told donors.
Donors who gave millions last fall, largely on the Republican side, are already lining up to do more.
"I'm going to do everything I possibly can to help our country and those people who believe in our country," said Republican donor Foster Friess, who gave more than $2 million to a new kind of political action committee, known as a super PAC, that fueled the 2012 presidential campaign of former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. n