The Madeleine Brand Show for February 22, 2012

Can Super PACs benefit the electoral process?

Sen. Schumer Speaks To The Media On Super PACs

Pete Marovich/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 1: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) leaves following a news conference on Super PACs. with U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Al Franken (D-MN) on Capitol Hill February 1, 2012 in Washington, DC. Schumer commented on the amount of money 3rd party groups are spending on advertising during the Republican primary elections. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

The controversial spending of Super PACs has dominated coverage of the 2012 election cycle. Both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum remain viable contestants because of hefty Super PAC contributions, largely in the form of negative attack ads.

And a new AP report sheds further light on Super PAC influence. According to the report, for every presidential candidate there is at least one person contributing a million dollars. And according to the New York Times, about two dozen Republican donors have collectively contributed more than 50 million dollars to Super PACS in this election cycle.

Critics of Super PAC fundraising say they de-rail the "natural" political process and leave voters confused about the source of negative campaign ads. But not everyone agrees with this analysis.

Bradley A. Smith, Chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics and author of the article "Super PACs level the playing field," joins the show to discuss how Super PACs could benefit the electoral process.

Guest:

Bradley A. Smith is the chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics and the Blackmore/Nault Professor of Law at Capital University.


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