Daily Dose: What happens to that Super-PAC money when a candidate drops out?

Those who are currently running for President are endorsed by Super Political Action Committees which can raise millions of dollars which are used to support the candidate. Those who are avid fans of “The Colbert Report” know that there are many loopholes for Super-PACs, while there are also few rules. Though “The Colbert Report” is first and foremost an entertainment and comedy show, there is some truth to the segment. What happens, though, if you’ve donated $100 hard earned dollars to a Super PAC endorsing Jon Huntsman, and then the next day he dropped out? Legally, almost anything the Treasurer of the Super-PAC wants to do with it, he can. T.W. Dan Eggen & T.W. Farnam of the Washington Post explore this issue in their piece:

Few Rules Control Super-PAC donations after a candidate withdraws from a race

“The bottom line is the folks running these things can do whatever they want,” said Paul Ryan, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center, which advocates for tighter regulation of money in politics. “They can buy themselves yachts and close up shop if they chose to do so.”

Without many regulations on Super-PACs, it is in, theory possible to spend money on virtually anything. However, according to the article, the money usually goes to a candidates campaign that is still running. A candidates political career, according to Bradley Smith, founder of the Center for Competitive Politics, would be over if the money was spent on a yacht, so it is unlikely.

Do we need more regulations on Super-PAC’s to make sure the money is used responsibly? Or, should a campaign be free to do what they want since it was a donation?


“Daily Dose of the Washington Post” is a blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with The Washington Post. If you see great stories in the Post and want to ask a question around it, please send them to[email protected].

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Corey McCarren

You are very welcome, and I completely agree. Just look at what happened with Sarah Palin’s PAC. I can’t say that I know exactly where all of the money went, but some went to traveling around the country with family and friends just to not run for President. It’s pretty unfair and sad what she did, especially since a lot of donors have little money and are donating to a potential candidate that gives them some hope.

Corey McCarren

And for the record Huntsman was just an example, I’m not accusing him of abusing funds in any way, I could have used any former candidate. He just happened to be the most recent one to drop out at the time, so I used him.