Following the Citizens United Supreme Court case, which said that the First Amendment prohibited the government from stopping corporations and unions from essentially unlimited political expenditures, a number of wealthy individuals/corporations/Stephen Colbert started so called Super PACs with the aim of spending unheard of amounts on elections in the coming cycle.
According to Bloomberg Karl Rove’s Super PAC, Crossroads GPS, spent almost 400 million dollars this election cycle. With that much cash thrown at the election, one would expect some results to go the former Defense Secretary’s way.
Unfortunately for him and the rest of the Republican party, the nation went blue in the presidential election. $127 million dollars spent on 82,000 TV. spots around the nation and absolutely nothing to show for it.
The Super PACs didn’t just fail in the presidential election, but almost every election that money was pumped into did not go the way of Crossroads. Rove’s PAC spent around 176 million dollars on non-presidential elections. So, what came of this money? “The return on investment for American Crossroads donors was 1 percent, according to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based group that advocates for open government. The group calculated the number based on how much of the money was spent supporting winners.” One percent. Crossroads donors would have been better off putting their money into Bank of America savings accounts. Donald Trump also had something to say, calling Crossroads a huge wast of money.
And now, according to The Huffington Post, there’s some backlash coming down the pipeline for Rove. “The billionaire donors I hear are livid,” one Republican operative told The Huffington Post. “There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do … I don’t know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing.”
What happens now for Super PACs? With all of these donors put off by the horrendous ROI in this election cycle, there’s no guarantee Super PACs can maintain their national position, so this could be the last time we see them on the national stage.