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Michael Toner Weighs in on Super PACs

The Boston Globe; CNBC
January 20, 2012

Michael Toner, co-chair of the Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, was interviewed by the Boston Globe for a story on Super PACs increased importance in the 2012 presidential election.  Mr. Toner also spoke with CNBC, ABC News and the Los Angeles Times about the effect Super PACs will have throughout the 2012 election cycle.

The Globe reports that Newt Gingrich’s campaign was buoyed by Super PAC ads after failing to win the Iowa or New Hampshire primaries.  While individuals are limited to contributing $2,500 to a candidate’s campaign per election, there are no restrictions on the donations that can be given to super PACs, which are barred from directly coordinating with candidates.

As big an impact as Super PACs have had on the GOP primary, Mr. Toner predicts it’s only the beginning.  “As much as is being spent now by super PACs, I think it will be a drop in the bucket compared to what will be spent in the general election by them,” said Mr. Toner.  “I expect we’re going to see in excess of $1 billion by the time of the November election.’’

Mr. Toner, the former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, told CNBC that Super PACs will help level the playing field for the Republican nominee who emerges to face President Obama.

“Super PACs are becoming institutionalized,” said Mr. Toner.  “The money they generate will help the GOP nominee compete. 2010 was a trial run for the Super PAC spending.”