Super PACs are, in some ways, playing a more visible role than ever in this year’s presidential primary — running a large share of the television ads, but also in some cases taking on many of the voter-contact responsibilities usually reserved for a traditional campaign.
But it’s not always so easy to see what these groups are doing – or who’s footing the bill. And it’s looking like voters in Iowa and New Hampshire will have to wait until after they head to the polls to find out who’s behind some of the most active super PACs in this year’s primaries.
As the Center for Public Integrity pointed out earlier this week, at least 11 presidential super PACs requested to file their campaign finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission on a monthly basis starting in January 2016. That's instead of following the “semi-annual” schedule that would require them to submit a “pre-primary” report on Jan. 28, ahead of both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.
Now, according to the Center for Public Integrity, the super PACs that asked to move to a monthly reporting schedule won’t have to disclose who gave them money in January until Feb. 20 — well after the first two contests in the nominating calendar.
“Technically, the FEC could deny such filing change requests,” the Center for Public Integrity reporters noted. “But the agency almost never does.”
Why does this matter? This move, according to the Center for Public Integrity, “allows top presidential bankrollers to remain hidden as the campaign grows white hot.”
According to the report, the super PACs asking for this filing change include:
- Priorities Action USA (supporting Hillary Clinton),
- Right to Rise USA (supporting Jeb Bush),
- Concerned American Voters (supporting Rand Paul),
- America Leads (supporting Chris Christie),
- Conservative Solutions PAC (supporting Marco Rubio),
- CARLY for America (supporting Carly Fiorina),
- Pursuing America's Greatness (supporting Mike Huckabee),
- and several that are supporting Ted Cruz.
For more, check out the Center for Public Integrity's full report here.