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Super PACS helping to level the playing field

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a campaign event at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Chicago, Ill., on January 11, 2012.

Steve Chiotakis: President Obama's re-election campaign today eleased their latest fundraising take for the last three months of 2011. The campaign reports donors shelled out a hefty $68 million for the president's organization.

So the president's coffers are looking pretty good this year, but Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports the GOP is counting on a new advantage.


John Dimsdale: The president’s campaign aides deny it, but some say he’ll raise a record billion dollars this year. That would break his own 2008 record of $750 million.  Republican candidates, who are still slugging it out in their primaries, are far behind in direct campaign donations.

But the new independent super PACs, which can accept unlimited cash, are leveling the playing field, according to Bradley Smith, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.

Bradley Smith: Republican voters right now are less trustful of their party than are Democratic voters. They think it’s too establishment or whatever.  They’re more likely to turn to these super PAC organizations.

Smith says Republican super PACs are outraising their Democratic competitors. But by just how much we won’t know until super PACs are required to disclose their finances at the end of January.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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