The six national campaign committees of the Democratic and Republican historically have played a large role in election efforts. But now super PACs and nonprofit interest groups linked to them are usurping those committees’ powers, Politico
The six panels are the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The Super PACs and interest groups have no fundraising limits and don’t have multiple factions that they must please.
“There’s no question that with the way we structure these super PACs, it will enormously diminish the role the committees play,” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who helped run the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee, told Politico. “There’s a recognition that we don’t have the clout that we once had.”
Democrats see it the same way. “It used to be that the party committees were the dominant force, and now that influence has been diminished by the super PACs,” Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor and Democratic National Committee chairman, told Politico. The outside groups are “taking part of the responsibilities away from the parties and thereby diminishing the parties’ impact,” he said.
Republican super PACs and interest groups played a major role in the smashing Republican electoral victories last year. And they probably will spend at least $270 million in the 2012 election campaign, almost all on advertising, Politico estimates.
That doesn’t include two new entities associated with House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor designed to maintain the GOP’s House majority next year. The Federal Election Commission decided in June to let officeholders and candidates raise money for super PACs with some restrictions.
Democrats are trying desperately to keep pace with Republicans on super PACs and interest groups after missing the boat last year. President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders have established super PACs and nonprofit groups of their own. The new entities are being set up to mirror the separate focuses of the three campaign committees.
To be sure, leaders of the party groups say they haven’t lost their relevance. By law, the outside groups can’t choose and train candidates, coordinate spending with their campaigns and participate in voter turnout efforts along local and state parties.
“I don’t think these super PACs will recruit. I don’t think that the super PACs will decide the kind of inside information that is necessary of how to talk to a candidate and prepare them for what’s ahead,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions told Politico on C-Span.
“In a marketplace that changes so rapidly, it will be up to the committee and me to make sure we have top flight candidates, blue-chip candidates all across the country who are able to thoughtfully articulate what they’re after.”
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