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Huff Post  By
Posted: 03/13/2012  3:31 pm Updated: 03/13/2012  7:24 pm

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that super PACs, the political organizations that allow donors to contribute unlimited amounts of money in support of candidates, are extremely unpopular among American voters.

The poll, conducted among registered voters from March 7-10, found that 69 percent of voters want super PACs to be made illegal, while 25 percent want them to remain legal. Independent voters felt more strongly than Democrats or Republicans — 78 percent said they favored banning super PACs.

Super PACs have emerged as a crucial part of the 2012 campaign, the first presidential cycle for which they’ve been in existence. The groups have raised millions of dollars for all the major GOP primary candidates, with Mitt Romney’s Restore Our Future PAC out front with $34 million spent.

In another measure of the new playing field, Newt Gingrich has been able to stay afloat in the Republican primary largely because of the financial backing of one man, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson — an arrangement that would have been impossible four years ago. Super PACs’ tentacles are spreading slowly but surely at the state level, too.

Super PACs developed as a byproduct of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which swept aside decades of election-law precedent in a controversial 5-4 decision.

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Think Progress- By Josh Israel  on Feb 2, 2012 at 10:45 am

In recent years, billionaire oil magnates David and Charles Koch have bankrolled the Tea Party movement, Republican candidates, and efforts to deny the existence global warming.  But less noticed have been their series of twice-yearly strategy coordination meetings for wealthy right-wing donors.  These secret confabs have attracted Republicans like Govs. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Rick Scott (R-FL), as well as former Fox News Channel talker Glenn Beck, Supreme Court JusticesAntonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and executives from the oil, banking, and health insurance industries.

The most recent meeting attracted two newcomers: Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.  Between them, the Las Vegas casino-owner and his wife have reportedly plowed $10 million into a pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC and have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican party committees and candidates already this cycle.

A Center for Public Integrity report suggests this may just be the beginning:

Adelson has recently indicated strong interest in backing other GOP allied groups, say fundraisers familiar with his giving. In 2010, Adelson wrote a seven figure check to Crossroads GPS, a non-profit advocacy group that doesn’t have to disclose its donors publicly which was co-founded by GOP super consultants Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.

The story quotes unnamed fundraisers “familiar with Adelson,” the American Crossroads super PAC and the 501(c)(4) Crossroads GPS, as expecting Adelson to “pump a few million dollars more” into one of the Crossroads groups this year, to help defeat President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. They also say Adelson is also considering writing a check to the American Action Network, former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN)’s non-profit, to help preserve the Republican majority in the U.S. House.

Between the Kochs and the Adelsons, voters around the country should expect to see what voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida have seen in recent weeks: a seemingly unending stream of dishonest attack ads, paid for by billionaire-funded super PACs and tax-exempt organizations.

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