‘Super PACs’ Let Strategists Off the Leash

Intensifying flood of uncapped donations to outside political groups is transforming not just campaigns but the entire business of politics. Once seasonal affairs, campaigns from the presidential race down to House contests are becoming longer and intense, driven by deep-pocketed donors eager to see incumbents pummeled throughout the political cycle. Decisions about attack ads and negative campaigning that once weighed on candidates are now made by consultants and donors with little or no accountability to the public. And for a growing number of strategists and operatives in both parties, the very nature of what it means to work in politics has shifted. Once wedded to the careers and aims of individual candidates, they are now driven by agendas of the big donors who finance outside spending. Amid the first presidential campaign since the Supreme Court opened the door for “super PACs” and unlimited campaign spending, it is still unclear how voters will respond. But the political professionals who make a living from the billions of dollars spent each cycle on campaigns are quickly embracing the shift. “I think at the end of the day it has to do with money,” said Matt Mackowiak, Republican consultant who works with Let Freedom Ring, group set to spend $20 million on political advertising this year. “If you’re a top consultant today, you’d much rather have a presidential super PAC than a presidential campaign” In insular but fast-growing world of super PACs, other independent outfits, there are no cranky candidates, no scheduling conflicts, no bitter strategy debates with rival advisers. There are only wealthy donors and the consultants vying to oblige them. The transformation drew new attention last week with revelation that Fred Davis, a prominent Republican advertising strategist, had sought financing from conservative billionaire for a $10 million campaign linking President Obama with the fiery, race-infused sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Obama’s former pastor. The proposal was condemned by, among others, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, which has been trying to keep the focus on the economy. Davis’s plan quickly collapsed, but not before highlighting how a single donor matched with an aggressive consultant could have an almost instant impact on an election, with far greater ease than from inside a rival campaign, with its bureaucracy, constant travel, potentially cautious candidate. “You don’t have to go anywhere,” Mr. Davis said in an interview this month, before details of his proposed campaign against Obama became public. “You don’t have to get on a small prop plane to New Hampshire. You don’t have to stay at the Holiday Inn Express. You can stay home and manage everything during normal office hours” (…..)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/us/politics/super-pacs-changing-how-political-operatives-operate.html

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

One Response to ‘Super PACs’ Let Strategists Off the Leash

  1. Before 9 a.m., a group of lobbyists began showing up at the White House security gates with the chief executives of their companies, all of whom serve on President Obama’s jobs council, to be checked in for a roundtable with the president. At 1 p.m., a dozen representatives from the meat industry arrived for a briefing in the New Executive Office Building. At 3 p.m., a handful of lobbyists were lining up for a ceremony honoring the 2011 World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. And at 4 p.m., a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs arrived in the Old Executive Office Building for a meeting with Alan B. Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. It was an unremarkable January day, with a steady stream of lobbyists among the thousands of daily visitors to the White House and the surrounding executive office buildings, according to a Washington Post analysis of visitor logs released by the administration. The Post matched visits with lobbying registrations and connected records in the visitor database to show who participated in the meetings, information now available in a search engine on the Post’s web site. The visitor logs for Jan. 17 — one of the most recent days available — show that the lobbying industry Obama has vowed to constrain is a regular presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The records also suggest that lobbyists with personal connections to the White House enjoy the easiest access. More than any president before him, Obama pledged to change the political culture that has fueled the influence of lobbyists. He barred recent lobbyists from joining his administration and banned them from advisory boards throughout the executive branch. The president went so far as to forbid what had been staples of political interaction — federal employees could no longer accept free admission to receptions and conferences sponsored by lobbying groups (…..)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-visitor-logs-show-lobbying-going-strong/2012/05/20/gIQA2ok4dU_story.html

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