Super PACs formed to back Allen, Kaine for U.S. Senate

Posted at 8:39 PM, Mar 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-14 20:45:28-04

UPDATE: A super PAC has been launched to back Tim Kaine's own senate bid. The New Virginia PAC is being launched by two former aids to Senator Mark Warner. The group hopes to raise $2 to $3 million dollars for Kaine's campaign.

Steve Bouchard, one of the PAC's founders told The Washington Post the group will disclose all of their donors as Kaine requested of the super PAC backing Allen earlier this week.

(WTVR)--Super PACs are highly controversial but extremely beneficial to political candidates. Because of the supreme court ruling in the citizens united case, they're allowed to raise unlimited funds from wealthy individuals, corporations and unions, as long as they don't coordinate with candidates.

Now one is making an impact on Virginia's senate race.

Paperwork has been filed to form Independence Virginia, a super PAC backing former Governor and GOP Candidate George Allen.  The group hopes to raise $2 to $3 million to help Allen win Jim Webb's senate seat.

Just days after the announcement,it's got Democratic Candidate Tim Kaine and Allen sparring back and forth.

"They're controversial for two reasons," says CBS 6 Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth. "On one hand they're a way around the campaign finance regulations. They allow almost unlimited sums of dollars to be funneled to particular candidates."

The second reason, Holsworth says, is that contributions to super PACs don't face the same kind of disclosure rules that contributions directly to candidates do. If a person donate a certain amount of money to a campaign, that information is publicly listed. The same isn't true for donations made to super PACs.

"If you give to a super PAC, you might be able to remain secret if you want to," Holsworth said. "This is what has some of the public upset. They think it's a rigged game."

Kaine's campaign responded to the news by asking Allen to agree to a deal which asking all outside groups to disclose their donors. Allen's camp dismissed the request, calling it a "gimmick."

"I think Tim Kaine is looking to take advantage of the formation of George Allen's super PAC," Holsworth said. "I wouldn't be surprised however if sometime time in the next few months we find out Tim Kaine in response has a super PAC formed to support him.

Holsworth says he doesn't think other candidates in the race, like Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke and Delegate Bob Marshall, will have the resource or donors behind them to have super PACs formed for their campaigns.