Updated 6:30 p.m. ET
Like candidate, like super PAC.
The super PAC supporting Mitt Romney's candidacy, "Restore Our Future," raised $30 million in 2011, placing it far ahead of other independent groups created to back other presidential hopefuls. The donations, many of which came from the financial sector, included $1 million each from seven individuals or companies in the last six months of last year.
Restore Our Future's end-of-year filing with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday - after Romney had made his victory speech in the Florida primary - showed that in addition to the $12 million the super PAC raised between last January and June (and previously reported), it raised another $18 million between July and December.
The super PAC spent only $6.5 million in 2011, leaving $23.5 million cash on hand entering 2012.Continue »
NEW YORK -- Today is the day the curtain is being drawn back on the "super PACs" spending unprecedented money on the presidential stage.
Super PACs, the independent political action committees formed to benefit a single candidate, are disclosing their 2011 end-of-year totals for both fundraising and spending, activities they can pursue without limits, as long as they are not coordinated with the candidates. The super PACs have collectively spent more than $44 million during Campaign 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of the 277 active super PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission, the one whose report that will perhaps bear the most scrutiny is that of the pro-Mitt Romney group "Restore Our Future." Disclosures already made to the FEC reveal that super PAC has spent $17 million -- primarily on TV advertisements attacking his leading rival for the Republican nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In its previous required FEC filing six months ago, Restore Our Future reported raising $12.2 million through June 2011. It did not spend significant sums until it blitzed the Iowa airwaves starting in late December with a slew of anti-Gingrich ads.
The former Massachusetts governor's actual campaign had spent more than the super PAC -- $29 million -- before the primaries in South Carolina and Florida, where it has dumped millions more. The campaign raised $56 million in 2011 and had $19 million cash-on-hand, it announced on January 11.Liberal super PACs exploit loophole to keep donors unknown Continue »
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. (CBS) - When Paramount Performance Marketing, a printing plant in Jacksonville, Florida, closed last month after a century in business, owner Jon Cummins laid off his last 24 employees.
"The overall business level was down for a very long time, and we did not know when it was coming back, and the work that was out there - everybody was bidding at much lower dollars than they used to, so you could be doing as much work as you did before for less margins," Cummins said in an interview.
He blames the effects of the recession for his business failure, but he says onerous federal government regulations did not help. Despite a sterling safety record, his plant received a the surprise visit from Occupational Safety and Health Administration last year.
"Basically came here and shut us down for two days as they interviewed every single employee and went through every nook and cranny and came up with a list of things that they felt were violations," Cummins said. The visit resulted in almost $5,000 fines.
With his printing presses idle and ready for sale, Cummins agreed to let the Romney campaign stage a rally with his plant as a backdrop this week, so Cummins himself would get the chance to meet the candidate.
"I'm definitely hoping that the economy turns around whoever is in the White House," Cummins said.Continue »
(CBS) COLUMBIA, S.C. - Mitt Romney faced down the question of whether America is ready for a Mormon President on Friday night in Hilton Head, South Carolina. During a town meeting, supporter Betty Treen took the microphone to ask the former Massachusetts Governor point blank about his faith.
"I am for you, but I need to ask you a personal question: Do you believe in the divine saving grace of Jesus Christ?" A murmur could be heard in the crowd in the few seconds it took Romney to get the microphone back.
"Yes, I do," Romney began, as the crowd erupted into applause led by home state governor Nikki Haley, who was on stage with the candidate she has endorsed.Continue »
But the PAC is on the airwaves in South Carolina, where Republicans vote in two weeks.
The Red White and Blue Fund spent $525,000 on television ads in Iowa, according to expenditure disclosures to the Federal Election Commission, helping fuel Santorum's drive to a very close second place in the Iowa caucuses.
Updated 1:38 p.m. Eastern Time
Following the airing of our second CBS Evening News spot on Super PACS on Saturday Dec. 15, showing three instances where identical TV footage appeared in a pair of ads that is supposed to be uncoordinated, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center have filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against the Perry presidential campaign and a Perry-Supporting Super PAC Make Us Great Again.
The complaint submitted Thursday asks the FEC to investigate possible violations of campaign finance law, asserting the belief that the Super PAC gave video footage to Perry's campaign without charge. Such a gift of video footage would be an in-kind "contribution" from Make Us Great Again to RickPerry.org likely exceeding the $2,500 candidate contribution limit and violating the outright ban on Super PAC contributions to candidates, according to Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center.Continue »
As Perry tossed his cowboy hat into the presidential ring, the group Make Us Great Again (MUGA) was documenting those early images of Perry, a formidable fundraiser and the nation's longest-serving governor, shaking up the Republican presidential field.
While the Perry campaign raised $17 million between his August 13 announcement and the end of September, it is unknown how much cash MUGA has raised since registering with the FEC on September 29. What is publicly known, due to mandatory expenditure disclosures with the FEC, is that MUGA has spent $1.5 million producing and buying air time for television ads, including "Conservative," a warm and fuzzy 30 second spot.Continue »
JACKSON, Miss. - Mississippi voters Tuesday will decide on Initiative 26 - the personhood amemendment - which would declare that life begins at fertilization. CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports the vote could set a precedent for the nation.Continue »
Updated 4:10 p.m. ET
CHARLESTON, S.C. and AMES, Iowa -- Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his bid for the 2012 Republican nomination in South Carolina on Saturday with a speech grounded in attacks on President Obama for "downgrading" America.
"It's time to get America working again," Perry told 700 conservative activists packed into at Charleston hotel ballroom. "Page one of any economic plan to get American working is to give a pink slip to the current residents in the White House."
In South Carolina, host to the nation's third presidential primary, Perry vowed to apply what has worked in Texas during his ten years as governor to Washington - balancing the budget and cutting government spending.
"America is not broken, Washington, D.C., is broken," Perry said.Continue »
Prospective Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told a Florida crowd last weekend, "If I run and win, our country will be respected again."
Making only his second public political appearance of the nascent 2012 presidential election cycle -- the first was February's Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington, D.C.--the real estate mogul, book author, and "reality TV" host promised, "I will create jobs, I will bring jobs back home."
Trump's well-received weekend speech at the anti-tax Tea Party rally in Boca Raton--on the eve of this year's federal tax filing deadline--came as Trump's flirtation with a White House run reaches a fever pitch.
Though he hasn't launched an official campaign committee, like former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney or former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty did in recent weeks, and as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is expected to do in the coming weeks, Trump says he envisions his name on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
On the grounds of his Palm Beach estate Friday night, Trump told reporters his motivation was to see Barack Obama removed from office.Continue »
As part of its decision to try self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM) and his four alleged co-conspirators in a military commission, the Justice Department today unsealed an indictment that charged Mohammad and the others with 10 counts relating to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A judge dismissed the indictment since the accused will no longer be tried in civilian court, as Attorney General Eric Holder initially planned.
Other than the unsealing of this KSM indictment that was gathering dust and the fact of its dimissal, there is little new information in these court documents themselves.
The main accusations detailed in the indictment are found on p. 13-33, in the "overt actions" section under the banner first count covering the global al Qaeda terror conspiracy. The main stuff against KSM pops up on p.13-14, alleging that he proposed the plot using planes and trained the hijackers on how to use and conceal knives. It also says he showed them how to obtain drivers licenses in the U.S., where he had lived and attended college in the 1980's. None of these allegations are new -- not even the detail that KSM's knife training of the 9/11 hijackers included stabbing sheep and camels.Continue »
"Like so many other Americans, many Floridians, and people in the district, I'm concerned that Washington is broken," she told me in an interview. "Their tax and spend policies are mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren."
Adams was challenging Freshman House Democrat Suzanne Kosmas in Florida's 24th district, which sprawls from the Orlando suburbs out to what's called the Space Coast - Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.
"If you look at the pieces of legislation that have been passed - the stimulus, you have bailouts," Adams continued, "It's not we're not taxed enough, we have a spending problem in Congress."Continue »
A man not even on the ballot quickly became the focal point Sunday as two candidates vying to fill a U.S. Senate seat for Kentucky appeared in their first of five scheduled televised debates.
"I think this election is really about the President's agenda; do you support the President's agenda or do you not support it?" Republican Rand Paul told Fox News moderator Chris Wallace in the debate's first exchange.
"I think his agenda is wrong for America. I will stand up against President Obama's agenda," said Paul, 47, an eye doctor making his first run for public office. His father is two-time Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, a libertarian U.S. Congressman from Texas. The younger Paul moved to Kentucky 17 years ago and established his practice in Bowling Green, near his wife's hometown.
Democrat Jack Conway, 41, from Louisville, the state's attorney general since January 2008, endorses the pillars of Obama's legislative program, the economic stimulus -- which he says saved 17,000 Kentucky jobs -- and health care reform. But Conway told the debate audience his support of Obama is conditional.Continue »