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So I’ve been wondering here lately about why these campaigns cost so much more than they did just a few years ago. What are these Super PACs spending all their billionaire contributions on anyway?

Well, surprise …

The Red White and Blue Fund, a “super PAC” backing the presidential bid of Republican Rick Santorum, paid more than half a million dollars last month to a newly formed direct mail firm.

The owner of that company?

None other than Nick Ryan, a former Santorum aide — and founder of the Red White and Blue Fund.

Ryan’s dual roles spotlight how political operatives behind the super PACs can take advantage of the mammoth donations streaming into the funds and the lack of oversight. Of the $1.5 million that the Red White and Blue Fund spent last month, a third — $570,000 — went to Global Intermediate.


Winning Our Future, a group backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich that has been buoyed by $11 million in donations from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his family, paid its president, Becky Burkett, $206,000 in January for executive management and fundraising services, according to campaign finance reports filed this week. Gregg Phillips, the Austin-based consultant who serves as the super PAC’s managing director, got $90,000.

Winning Our Future spokesman Rick Tyler said the super PAC pays its staff for “fundraising successes.” Tyler said the payments Burkett and Phillips received in January included compensation for work they did in November and December, before the super PAC was launched on Dec 13. He said their salaries were determined by the super PAC’s “senior leadership” — which consists of himself, Burkett and Phillips.

What a nice scam. I suppose Adelson and Foster Friess don’t care because, to them, the donations themselves are tip money and this amounts to parking meter money. But still, you’d think that at some point they might balk at being seen for the fools they are. They do have egos.

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