Rare Colo. Super PACs influence local polls

Suicide logo

Special series: Solutions to youth suicide in La Plata County


Rare Colo. Super PACs influence local polls

Activists use money to support democracy versus special interests
Dems copy GOP fundraising model

DENVER – It looks like Republican legislators have started a trend.
This spring, 11 Republicans in the state Legislature registered “leadership PACs,” or personal political action committees. Although such PACs are usually used to build a personal constituency for ambitious legislators, Republicans told the Herald they plan their new PACs in a cooperative way to help vulnerable Repubicans.
Now Democrats are getting into the act.
Eight Democratic legislators or candidates registered leadership PACs in July – seven of them within a week of the Herald’s report on Republican leadership PACs.
If the committees coordinate their work, they can help candidates overcome the state’s $400 limit per donor. One big donor could funnel roughly 10 times the limit through an array of leadership PACs.
None of the committees has reported any fundraising yet. The next campaign-finance reports are due Aug. 1.

Five ways to win

Donors have a variety of options to support candidates for the state Legislature:
Candidate committees: These are controlled directly by the candidates. They have low limits of $400 per donor.
Political committees: A variety of companies, candidates and activists run political action committees. They can collect $550 per donor and give up to $400 per candidate.
Small donor committee: Often used by unions, these committees aggregate a number of small donations and have higher limits in giving – up to $4,500 per legislative candidate.
527s: Named for a part of the federal tax code, 527s can accept unlimited donations and spend unlimited money. They are not supposed to coordinate with campaigns, but it’s hard to prove violations of the law.
Independent expenditure committees: These are the “Super PACs” brought into existence in 2010 after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case. Similar to 527s, they can collect and spend unlimited money, as long as they do not coordinate with candidates.

Reader Comments
click here to add your event
Area Events