Super PACs have raised tens of millions of dollars since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United in 2010, a landmark decision that allowed the new breed of political-action committee to raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash from corporations and unions.Here are five of the most influential liberal super PACs in the 2012 Election.
Priorities USA Action
Priorities USA Action is a liberal super PAC that supported President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election bid.
Priorities USA Action portrayed itself as being at the "forefront of efforts to draw clear contrasts between progressive policies and those of the far right. We are committed to the re-election of President Obama and setting the record straight when there are misleading attacks against him and other progressive leaders."
AFL-CIO Workers' Voices PAC
The AFL-CIO Workers' Voices PAC is a liberal super PAC created in April 2012 that supports Democratic candidates and causes, including the unsuccessful recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in June 2012.
The super PAC is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation. The union said it launched the super PAC to battle the millionaires and corporations trying to influence elections.
"For too long our political process has been dominated by too much money, and too much power, concentrated in the hands of too few," AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in announcing the liberal super PAC's formation. "That is why Workers’ Voice was created — to build an independent voice for the working and middle class who are the 99%."
House Majority PAC
The House Majority PAC is a liberal super PAC launched by Democrats in April 2011 to regain the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Its predecessor was America’s Families First Action Fund, which spent nearly $6 million in the 2010 elections.
Among its activities was nearly $400,000 in a 2011 special election in New York's 26th Congressional District won by Democrat Kathy Hochul.
America’s Families First criticized the Republican nominee's support of what it called a "radical budget that not only ends Medicare as we know it, but also increases the national debt by providing giveaways to millionaires and big oil companies."
"Together we'll stop Karl Rove and his friends from buying the Senate and prevent a radical Tea Party take-over in 2012," the Majority PAC states. Rove is a major contributor to the conservative super PAC American Crossroads.
American Bridge 21st Century
American Bridge 21st Century is a liberal super PAC created in 2011 in by Media Matters for America founder and former journalist David Brock. Among is largest contributors is George Soros.
The super PAC said it closely aligns its research and communications activities with the Majority PAC. American Bridge was designed to be a "permanent progressive counterweight to the outside Republican groups that took hold of the electoral process in 2010."
American Bridge conducts research to ensure candidate rhetoric matches their voting records. It also claimed to monitor public appearances "to prevent the cynical pandering that results in a candidate taking different positions depending on the audience they are in front of."