SuperPacs ≠ Campaigns

As a right leaning fellow, I am fine with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

I know many of my liberal friends are not. While I think they are wrong, that’s fine.

What some on my side — who ostensibly support Citizens United — do is blur the line between campaigns, PACs, and SuperPacs.

I saw a headline of a blog post written by a writer I enjoy that said “Anti-Islam Filmmaker Donated Million Dollars To Obama Campaign.” 

That’s not true. Citizens United did many things, but it did not lift the limits on donations to political campaigns. You cannot actually donate a million bucks to Mitt Romney or Barack Obama’s campaign. It’s illegal and you cannot do it.

But, you can donate a million dollars (or more! the horror!) to a SuperPAC. The hed sold me, and the author was talking about Bill Maher and his film “Religulous” that mocked religion, including Islam. Clever. But wrong. Maher donated to a SuperPAC that supports Obama.

This is hardly the first incidence where I’ve seen an error like this occur. Radio, television, print — I’ve seen it everywhere. I’m kind of sick of it.

Because SuperPacs ≠ Campaigns. They cannot coordinate. Candidates can condemn/urge SuperPACs that support them to take an ad off the air, etc. or say they disagree with it. But they’re not the same outfit. That’s illegal.

We all know that big players who used to be close to candidates often run these things, and that’s within the letter of the law.

Since conservatives support Citizens United we should know the difference. Know how it does and doesn’t apply, and correct people when they are wrong. Which is often.

Failure to do this, in my view, weakens defense of what was a good decision by the Supreme Court.

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