Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert on Tuesday that super PACs are harmful to the nation’s electoral process.
"I think super PACs as such are in fact very dangerous in the long run," Gingrich told Colbert, the Huffington Post
reports. "There's something fundamentally, profoundly wrong about what's happening. And it's happening in both parties – and in the long run, it's going to be very negative and very destructive of our system."
Eariler on Tuesday, Colbert ended his Americans for a Better Tomorrow Tomorrow super PAC, which sought to demonstrate the influence of big money in politics. The group raised more than $1.2 million for this election cycle and spent more than $460,000, including $79,000 in independent expenditures, according to news reports.
Gingrich’s Tuesday remarks represented a shift from when super PACs were backed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010.
In a case brought by Citizens United super PAC against the Federal Election Commission, the justices ruled that the First Amendment prohibited the federal government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions.
At the time, the Speaker said the ruling had granted “the right of every citizen, whether you agree or disagree, to get up and be heard, to speak, to have space in politics,” the Huffington Post reports.
In addition, Gingrich has benefitted greatly from super PACs during his failed presidential run. The Winning Our Future super PAC that supported Gingrich received at least $15 million from Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the Huffington Post reports.
But on Tuesday, Gingrich appeared to admit that super PACs, which were ultimately responsible for more than $625 million in spending throughout the 2012 election cycle – and that allowed candidates with the largest number of wealthy backers to have an unfair advantage over those who had fewer.
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